Calls for a more level playing field for freelancers and SMEs

24th February 2017 | News

The Institute of Directors (IoD) is leading the calls for the UK Government to do more to support the changing nature of employment across the country, levelling the playing field for freelancers and small business owners.

Chair, Matthew Taylor, had already been commissioned by the Government to conduct an Employment Review, focusing firmly on modern employment practices.

However, the IoD insists the review needs to be much “broader” and believes a new Tax Commission is necessary “to keep the tax system up-to-date with changes to the economy including the growth of self-employment and the so-called platform economy”.

The IoD believes a review is necessary to assess how tax applied to the self-employed community can be brought in line with employees.

Stephen Martin, Director General of the IoD, said: “The Government must take action to relieve some of the pressure on the small businesses facing hikes in business rates ... we should also look to the future, launching a new Tax Commission to look at what the growth of self-employment and online business means for the tax system. The goal must be a much more level playing field.”

Earlier this week, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) welcomed comments from Employment Review chair, Matthew Taylor, reinforcing the importance of acknowledging the difference between vulnerable and career freelancers.

Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs, IPSE, said: “Some unscrupulous businesses are exploiting self-employed workers to deny them the employment protections they deserve.

“This review should explore how Government can clamp down on these companies, which are giving self-employment a bad name.

“It's essential that Government refines its own definitions of self-employment, so everybody's thinking is aligned. Policymakers must then put the Taylor Review's recommendations into action.

“The Government-commissioned Deane Review on self-employment, which made a number of suggestions for better policy last year, has thus far been ignored. The Taylor Review has to be different."