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ContractorCalculator: Contracting news in brief – 6/June/2014

Contractors will see the IR35 review report over the summer

Contractors can expect to see the results of the year-long investigation by HMRC and the IR35 Forum published over the summer. This is according to the minutes just published of the IR35 Forum meeting held in February 2014, during which HMRC updated forum members about the progress of new guidance due to be published on the gov.uk platform, but which has been delayed. The minutes also highlighted that contractors who have undergone an IR35 investigation may be asked to participate in a survey about their experiences. More...

Oil and gas contractors face rate cuts from a third major contractor

Onshore limited company oil and gas contractors who have contracts with services firm Petrofac will have their rates cut by 10% from 28 June 2014, according to STV News. This follows rate cuts announced last month by AMEC and Wood Group PSN. A Petrofac spokesperson told STV: “We have written to our Aberdeen-based onshore limited company contractors to advise them that we intend to apply a rate reduction effective end of this month.” More...

Contractors urged to join campaign to oppose draconian new anti-avoidance laws

Contractors need to educate themselves about draconian new anti-avoidance legislation due to come into force during July 2014, and to prepare for a campaign to oppose the new rules, says campaign group DOTAS Scandal. The lobby-group’s spokesperson Chris Robinson warned: “The new rules ignore due process and could land many contractors with huge bills from HMRC for back taxes and interest, and all without offering the taxpayer an opportunity to defend themselves.” A campaign is underway to get the proposed legislation amended or dropped. More...

Contractor-friendly Queen’s speech highlights importance of flexible workforce

Contractors look set to benefit from largely positive Queen’s Speech that outlines the government’s plans for the coming year. According to PCG: “The fact that small businesses, and flexible working, featured so heavily in the Queen’s speech today is indicative of the importance of this growing sector to the UK’s economic recovery.” The measures that may benefit contractors range from pensions and childcare to reviewing small business red tape and proposals to encourage shale gas development. More...

Contractor hiring strengthens across manufacturing, construction and services

Contractors have experienced elevated hiring levels across all three major sectors of the UK economy, according to the Market/Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) UK Purchasing Managers’ Indices (PMI) for UK manufacturing, construction and services:

  • The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI points to “broad-based job creation”, alongside a surge in investment goods orders, a hugely positive factor suggesting that the UK’s large businesses are investing in new plant and capacity
  • The Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI reported a “rise in staffing levels for the twelfth successive month”, driven by house building and civil engineering. Subcontractor prices increased at the fastest pace since the survey began in 1997
  • The Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI shows that hiring growth “strengthens to joint fastest rate in 17 years”, alongside rate increases and high levels of confidence from clients about prospects for the next 12 months.

Contractors can help ease IT skills shortages threatening economic growth

IT contactors are well positioned to help ease skills shortages in the UK’s IT sector that may threaten economic growth is not addressed. Staffing Industry Analysts report that a recent survey by ReThink Recruitment shows that “the [IT] sector is reaching a critical point in terms of skills gaps”. Of those IT directors and CTOs surveyed, 77% anticipate workloads will increase during the next 12 months, but only 52% believe they can meet future demand with existing resources. Contractors can provide contingent cover both to manage capacity and to cover skills gaps during the search for permanent staff. More...

Contractor client IT business failures see year-on-year fall

Insolvencies among contractor clients in the IT sector have shown a year-on-year fall in the number of insolvencies for the first time since the recession. Computer Weekly’s Tim Wood and Henry Kirby write that data from the Exaro Insolvency Index shows only 181 IT firms going through insolvency during April 2014, compared to 201 during April 2013. Wood and Kirby note that: “The UK economy may be entering a new post-recession phase of greater investment in areas such as IT.” More...

Contracting disciplines IT, engineering and finance in top ten of hardest jobs to fill

The core contracting disciplines of accounting and finance, IT and engineering feature sixth, eighth and ninth respectively in Manpower Talent Shortage Survey’s top ten of the hardest to fill jobs in 2014. Forbes’ Kathryn Dill writes that 45% of clients have reported that skills shortages “resulted in a reduced ability to serve clients, while 37% reported reduced competition and productivity”. In the top three of the list are the skilled trades category, followed by hospitality workers and sales representatives. More...

Contractors should renew tax their credits by 31 July, or risk losing them

Contractors who qualify for tax credits due to unexpected drops in income alongside having children have been urged by HMRC to renew their tax credits before the 31 July deadline, or risk losing them. “People should check their details and renew early to make sure they get the right money.Don't leave it – people who don't renew on time risk losing their payments,” warns HMRC’s director general of benefits and credits Nick Lodge. Although most contractors earn too much to qualify for tax credits, if a contractor experiences a sudden fall in income, tax credits could provide welcome additional income. More...

Published: 06 June 2014

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