How to lobby your MP against more damaging IR35 reforms

The public sector IR35 reforms have had a devastating impact: damaging projects, intensifying skills shortages, and considerably reducing the earnings of contractors. The real danger is that, without your help, these rules could soon be extended into the private sector.

The taxman ignored the warnings issued by key contracting stakeholders when deciding to press ahead with the public sector changes. To avoid further catastrophic mistakes MPs need to be informed about the dangers of a private sector roll out.

Using the draft letter below, supported by facts from our recent IR35 survey, we are asking you to lobby your MP against the IR35 reforms. It’s the best chance we have of preventing further collateral damage.

Key results from our survey:

  • 76% of public sector projects lost contractors due to the IR35 reforms
  • 38% of contractors could not be replaced
  • 71% of public sector projects delayed because contractors left
  • 50% of contractors will never work in the public sector if caught by IR35
  • 20% of contractors have ruled out the public sector as a place to work

5 strong reasons why the reforms would be devastating to the private sector

  • The UK labour market would lose more critical flexibility
  • The UK would struggle to attract and retain talent
  • Hiring flexible workers would be costlier for clients
  • Critical projects would suffer
  • The red tape cost to all businesses would increase

The new rules are a huge deterrent from contracting. Nearly half of those asked said they would now only take a public sector contract caught by IR35 if their rates were increased, and 17% of contractors surveyed said they intend to quit contracting because of the reforms.

Nearly 40% of the respondents said they were considering changing career. If the reforms were rolled out to the private sector more contractors would be inclined to seek work overseas, and the UK would struggle to attract the brightest talent from around the world. This would have a knock-on effect on the quality of work available.

70% of public sector projects were delayed because of contractors leaving following the reforms. A private sector rollout would see similar damage on a grander scale. This will impinge on working conditions and morale. The public sector has struggled to replace its valuable knowledge workers, as 52% of vacated contracts remain unfilled.

There is every reason to suspect that the private sector would also suffer a similar fate if the reforms are expanded.

How to contact your MP

To find your MP use the Parliament service:

Search for your MP – click here

Enter your postcode, find your MP and their email address.

Email them directly, and feel free to use the letter template below. If you can add some of your own words and experiences it will strengthen your arguments. They are more likely to take note if they understand the damages of these reforms and how it affects their constituents.

How to lobby your MP [letter template]

Dear [local MP],

I’m writing to alert you to significant damage caused to public services, in particular the NHS and critical IT projects, as a result of new legislation introduced in April 2017 which is affecting the flexible workforce.

A recent survey of over 1500 flexible workers conducted by ContractorCalculator revealed damaging consequences:

  • 76% of public sector projects lost contractors due to the IR35 reforms
  • 38% of contractors could not be replaced
  • 71% of public sector projects delayed because contractors left
  • 50% of contractors will never work in the public sector if caught by IR35
  • 20% of contractors have ruled out the public sector as a place to work

This legislation was called the Off Payroll legislation for the public sector, which HMRC may be planning to implement in the private sector very soon. This would have further devastating consequences to UK Plc and any flexible workers, independent contractors, or freelancers.

The reforms saw vast numbers of highly skilled key flexible workers completely abandon the public sector, without being replaced. This brain drain resulted in projects being delayed or cancelled because of intensified skills shortages, and key services in the NHS have been put under tremendous pressure as workers abandon the sector.

HMRC were warned this would happen, but ignored the warnings. Many now fear that HMRC intends to extend these rules into the private sector, which would cause irrevocable damage to projects and the UK labour market.

I am therefore relying on your help to push back against the existing reforms and any further changes that could cripple the UK’s flexible workforce, and hope you can lend your support, and look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

[Your name]

Worried about IR35? Want to test your IR35 status - for free

Your can obtain a free IR35 status review of your contract in just 15 minutes using ContractorCalculator's IR35 test tool, published on IR35Testing.co.uk. The test was first built in 2009, has tested over 100,000 contractors, produces the same results as all historic IR35 court cases, and is insurance backed.

Published: Monday, September 11, 2017

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