Spring Statement: A wasted opportunity to provide clarity on many of the big issues facing freelancers and micro-businesses

  • Ed Molyneux , CEO and Co-founder at Free Agent

  • 14.03.2018 10:15 am
  • undisclosed

It’s disappointing, although not surprising, that the Chancellor chose not to make any significant announcements in the Spring Statement. I think it was a wasted opportunity to provide some much-needed clarity about many of the big issues facing freelancers and micro-businesses - and to properly explain what progress has been made so far in tackling them. 

I would have liked to see an update about the long-running government plans to align tax for self-employed and employed workers. In the light of the Taylor Review, it’s clear that self-employed people - and especially those in the gig economy - are often taking on far greater risks than their employed counterparts do, and without the comfort of having the same statutory benefits. We need to know how the government plans to bridge this discrepancy if they plan to standardise tax for all UK workers.

I also would have liked to hear the Chancellor provide some detail about how freelancers and micro-businesses can be protected from any negative economic fallout from Brexit, as well as how they can be protected from the scourge of late payment. We know the newly-appointed Small Business Commissioner has been tasked with tackling the latter problem, but there has been very little detail so far about how he will do this, or what new powers (if any) he will be given - so further information on this important issue is vital. 

“The one positive, however, is the mention of making sure multinational digital businesses pay their fair share of tax. We’ve found that the majority of micro-businesses think that the UK tax system is unfairly biased towards larger companies, so restoring tax parity across all business types and sizes will be a very welcome step.

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