With the 2014 Budget just two weeks away, freelancing body PCG has published their wishlist for the big event, and has urged Chancellor George Osborne to “back Britain’s independent professionals.”
Budgets in previous years have been noticeably lacking in support for freelancers, and PCG is hoping that this year, with entrepreneurial spirit sweeping the nation, Osborne will introduce new measures specifically designed to help the UK’s freelancers and contractors.
Among the PCG’s recommendations to the Chancellor are:
- More concrete action to tackle late payments
- Increased investment in communication infrastructure to support flexible working
- Business rates cuts for coworking spaces
- Reassurances that freelancers will not be unfairly penalised by HMRC’s targeting of onshore employment intermediaries
PCG Chairman Julie Stewart commented:
“Whilst we recognise the success of Government measures in propelling the UK out of the economic downturn, we believe this growth must be cemented by creating a regulatory and tax environment that will better support the UK’s smallest businesses.
“Freelancers have an important role to play in boosting sluggish productivity growth and bridging the UK’s output gap. Research has shown they help create jobs, encourage innovation and generate entrepreneurship in the UK’s economy. Sadly, all too often freelancers and those that engage them are mired in a sea of poor guidance, red tape and badly drafted legislation which stops them from reaching their full potential.”
On the perennial issue of late payment, Stewart noted:
“Freelancers are often the last to be paid and what’s more, under the current system it is extremely difficult for them to hold clients to account for withholding payment without risking damage to the relationship.
“PCG is sceptical about the effectiveness of the measures currently in place which are only voluntary for big businesses. The Treasury has the power to significantly improve this situation, particularly in the public sector. Freelancers desperately need measures to be put in place that ensure even the smallest businesses are armed with sufficient legal tools to tackle late payment.”
The 2014 Budget will be unveiled on 19th March.