How many tradesmen have been laid off from building companies over the last 20 years and have had to go self-employed only to work for the same building companies as sub-contractors? For the Chancellor to call it a “perverse system where employees are turning themselves into self-employed” is not what many have experienced.
From Housebuilders having no trades employed within their firm using sub-contractors to build their properties to delivery firms only using self-employed couriers, the UK has seen a boom in numbers of self employed in recent years. For many however this situation is not through choice, it is necessity, required by those who used to be employers but now find it much more financially rewarding to utilise contractors rather than employees.
Uber and DPD have been in the news recently for the way they treat their supposed contractors. Uber recently losing a court case regarding the employment status of their drivers with the court ruling that Uber drivers were workers. Although this ruling has been made, it certainly hasn’t been reported that Uber has suddenly started putting drivers on the books.
That the budget is now penalising these people who have through no choice of their own had to go down the self-employed route is something that the Conservative Manifesto pledged against in 2015.
In April 2015, the Conservative Manifesto was launched which stated – “No rise in VAT, national insurance contributions or income tax”. When asked to admit that the pledge had been broken on BBC this morning, Chancellor Philip Hammond repeatedly mentioned that this was dealt with in 2015 and no one tabled any amendments at the time.
Presumably he is talking about the National Insurance Contributions Act 2015 which started life in 2014 and as far as I understand it, mentions self-employed about the simplification of collection of Class 2 contributions. This bill received Royal Assent in February 2015, how does this affect a pledge given in April 2015 about rates of NI contributions when this act is about simplification of collection of NI contributions from the self-employed?
If I have missed something I am happy to be corrected however, at present it seems that the Conservative manifesto pledge was made after the National Insurance Contributions Act 2015. How Mr Hammond can say this is the situation resolved about ignoring the manifesto published for the 2015 election is hard to comprehend and does nothing to help those who have become self-employed through necessity, not through choice.