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ContractorCalculator: Contracting news in brief – 29/Apr/2016

Public sector IR35 reforms called into question

Contracting bodies have criticised Government plans to reform IR35 legislation in the public sector after a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report found that roughly 90% of public sector contractors are tax compliant. This figure was determined from data gathered from various Government departments and is in stark contrast with the 10% compliance rate that HMRC and various media outlets have recently claimed. “The figures serve to reaffirm what the contracting community has known all along,” notes ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin. “Non-compliance does exist, but not to anywhere near the extent that the Government claims.” More...

Contractors told to respond to fluctuating demand by targeting niche markets

Finance and IT contractors are being encouraged to target niche markets, as dampening optimism stunts contractor demand in certain sub-sectors. Morgan McKinley’s UK Salary Guide 2016 notes the increasingly risk-averse nature of finance firms has led to increasing demand for contractors in regulatory disciplines, such as compliance, where contract rates are expected to rise by 20% this year. IT contractors with cyber-security skills remain highly sought-after, whilst the Fintech sector also looks likely to prove buoyant. Morgan McKinley also identifies an increase in the numbers of permanent employees considering contract opportunities. More...

Contractor demand softens ahead of EU referendum

Contractor demand has been stifled as a result of economic uncertainty caused by the looming EU referendum. Latest survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) shows that overall contract vacancies have risen by 1% year-on-year, after several months of strong growth. The driving force was again found to be the finance sector, where contractor demand is up by 30%. “The fact that all hiring activity has close to flat-lined is indicative of the extent to which uncertainty linked to the EU referendum is deterring companies from taking on new staff,” notes APSCo chief executive Ann Swain. More...

Contractors boost UK economy to the tune of £109bn

Contractor-owned UK companies are believed to have generated more than £109bn in turnover in 2015. This is the conservative estimate reached within a study by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), which adds that the true figure may be even greater. “Large firms, and increasingly SMEs are tapping into this growing pool of independent workers who are available on demand, with the specialist skills to hit the ground running,” comments IPSE chief executive Chris Bryce. Contractor numbers in the UK have also continued to rise, reaching 1.91m in 2015, marking a 36% increase since 2008. More...

Finance contractors identified as solutions to productivity shortage

Contractors have been earmarked as an effective solution to improve productivity in the finance sector. Research from international recruitment firm Robert Half shows that improving productivity is now a key objective for UK firms, with 31% of Finance Directors planning on recruiting specialist project professionals, Staffing Industry Analysts reports. “In the current skills-short marketplace, utilising the specialist skills of interim professionals can be a powerful strategy to improve productivity,” highlights Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half Management Resources UK. More...

Contractor pensions warning issued by FSB

Many contractors are placing themselves at risk of future retirement problems by not paying in to a pension. A report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that less than a third (31%) of self-employed people are saving into a private pension, whilst 15% have no retirement savings of any sort. Despite this, 27% plan to rely on their business to fund their retirement. In response, the FSB is encouraging policymakers to develop a savings solution for the self-employed, who it argues don’t have the necessary support frameworks in place. More...

Contractor-inhibiting employment rules to be reviewed

Contractors could see red tape removed after the Government announced plans to look at employment rules that are stifling British entrepreneurship, Wired Gov reports. The Government is seeking views on ‘non-compete clauses’, which can be written into employment contracts and prevent individuals from competing against a former employer or working for a competitor for up to nine months after leaving a firm. This could prevent new-to-the-market contractors from continuing to engage with clients they had previously worked for whilst employed. There have also been suggestions that the clauses can act as a barrier preventing contractors from hiring talent of their own. More...

Digital tax plans a “serious cause for concern” for contractors

HMRC’s digital tax plans look likely to have even further reaching implications for contractors and other businesses after it emerged that HMRC intends for businesses to use particular software and systems, reports Economia. “Until last month there was a general understanding that businesses could use their own package for their record keeping, as long as it was digital,” wrote Treasury Select Committee chair Andrew Tyrie in a letter to Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke. According to a recent ICAEW survey, 75% of businesses and 82% of sole traders will need to change their record keeping systems to comply with Government proposals. More...

HMRC claims £87m in tax return late payment fines from contractors

Contractors have contributed to an £87m yield for HMRC from late filing penalties, City AM reports. Statistics released by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) show that 870,000 people missed the 31 January 2016 deadline for filing their self-assessment tax return online – each of whom will be issued a £100 fine. Contractors who have not yet filed their return are advised to do so as soon as possible. Any tax returns that are still outstanding after 30 April 2016 will incur further penalties of £10 per day. More...

Oil and gas contractors encouraged to explore Norway’s Arctic

Oil and gas contractors in search of contracts should explore opportunities in the Norwegian Arctic, where activity is rebounding after years of decline. Rigzone reports that whilst contract opportunities in mature offshore areas in the North Sea become increasingly sparse as firms continue to cut costs, three more exploration wells are being built in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea in 2016. On top of this, the Norwegian Government will offer drilling permits at the end of Q2 for an unexplored area near Norway’s offshore border with Russia. More...

Published: 29 April 2016

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