back to article Tory chancellor pledges to review IR35 rollout in UK private sector – just like all the other parties

The UK's would-be chancellor of the exchequer has promised to review the extension of IR35 to the private sector – if the Conservative Party wins the General Election on 12 December. Sajid Javid told Radio 4's Money Box election special: One thing in particular I want to look at is the proposed changes to IR35, these are the …

  1. dave 81

    In other news, lying liars tell lies again.

    Who is going to believe the liars who said they would review it when they beat New Liebour, and then went on to strengthen it. Or who would be believe tax and spend Labour? Or even then there is the anti-democratic 3rd party? Screw the lot of them.

    1. Smooth Newt
      Happy

      Re: In other news, lying liars tell lies again.

      And on an unrelated note, today a politician said some tosh that he thinks will help him in the election.

    2. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge

      Re: In other news, lying liars tell lies again.

      For once this is something none of them are lying about, and I believe every one of them when they say they will "review" the proposed changes to IR35.

      I don't for one second believe any one of them will change anything in the short term, and I can see some redirecting HMRC to increase retrospective investigations. It is easier to smash a number of small companies who don't have high paid corporate lawyers for a small amount of tax than it is to smash the big guys who would be due billions in tax if they weren't able to skirt the law with creative avoidance schemes.

  2. LucreLout Silver badge

    Chop chop chaps...

    .... there's damage being done!

    Whether you're in favour of the tax changes or against them, there's real disruption being caused to industry by these changes that quite probably wasn't envisaged when they were planned.

    Whatever decisions whatever government are going to take need to happen quickly and decisively, without dither and delay.

    1. 0laf Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Chop chop chaps...

      Aye but to stop or roll them back would involve a politician admitting fault and lets be honest that's never going to happen. Screw those million contractors and think about the reputation of a junior minister that no one knows the name of.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Chop chop chaps...

        "to stop or roll them back would involve a politician admitting fault"

        Not if they can blame them on a previous government, which is the sort of thing they love to do (even if their own party has been in power for ten years).

    2. DaveDaveDave

      Re: Chop chop chaps...

      Where on earth does the unintended consequences notion come from? The whole point here is to clamp down on the many, many fake contractors.

      1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Chop chop chaps...

        There has been substantial disruption to the delivery of projects in the Public Sector through the change to the rules, and there is growing evidence there is going to be substantial disruption to the delivery of projects in the Private Sector as a consequence of the proposed changes. Contractors are not simply being changed into "employees" as a result, and a downturn in productivity impacts the total tax take and everyone suffers. So yes, there are unintended consequences.

        1. DaveDaveDave

          Re: Chop chop chaps...

          Contractors aren't being changed into anything. Employees pretending to be contractors are employees, and IR35 hasn't changed that, it's just made it easier for HMRC to crack down on fake contractors.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: Chop chop chaps...

            Did you even read the article? The issue is that IR35 changes are being viewed as a risk to business. Sledge hammer to crack a nut.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

              Re: Chop chop chaps...

              But IR35 isn't changing the rules about who is a contractor. It's changed the rules on how HMRC can investigate fake contractors.

              If you are now facing difficulties complying with IR35, then you weren't a contractor before IR35.

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                Re: Chop chop chaps...

                I personally don't think I will have any trouble complying with IR35, but it's not up to me anymore is it?

                A lot of risk-adverse clients are moving to blanket 'inside ir35' assessments (to avoid the possibility of an outside ir35 contract later being deemed inside and paying the cost) or they're simply not employing contractors.

                My current contract is due to expire in March, and as yet there is no indication of what will happen after that.

                So, it *is* having a real world impact on *legitimate* contractors.

                "But IR35 isn't changing the rules about who is a contractor. It's changed the rules on how HMRC can investigate fake contractors."

                Not really, it's changed who makes the initial determination of who is a genuine contractor and who isn't - with steep penalties for getting it wrong.

                1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

                  Re: Chop chop chaps...

                  There s a lot of obfuscation caused by the fake contractors, but it's daft to pretend there's any chance of getting it wrong - unless, of course, you're dealing with fake contractors. The rules (which haven't changed) are very clear, and just because people are no longer able to get away with blatantly evading tax, they're complaining.

                  Based just on the scant information you gave, though, you're not a contractor, you're just another employee fiddling their taxes, so it's unsurprising you've run into trouble.

                  1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                    Re: Chop chop chaps...

                    You continue to miss the point in favour of promoting your own bias on the matter.

                    I haven't provided enough information to judge either way, but you seem happy to do so. Also, if there's no chance of 'getting it wrong' perhaps you could explain why HMRC are losing so many cases based on rules that *they* created.

                    Regardless of whether a contractor is legitimate or not, an investigation is going to be stressful. So it seems you are happy to ignore all those genuine contractors who end up being hounded and suggest there isn't a problem here, move along.

                    You sir, are judgemental and lack compassion.

                  2. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
                    Headmaster

                    Re: Chop chop chaps...

                    "The rules (which haven't changed) are very clear"

                    HMRC wrote the rules and clearly do not understand them since they've lost 8 out of 10 cases they've brought to Court. If HMRC can't understand the "clear" rules, how can anyone else be expected to understand them.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tory chancellor pledges

    their pledges are worthless (and so are all made by other parties). They would still be unreliable, even if they were, somehow, legally binding, because whoever wins can fiddle with law too. Elections based on trust? Fuck yeah!

  4. Dwarf Silver badge

    Weasel words

    Review - nice and blurry in terms of scope and no definition of when this might happen, so typical politician weasel words.

    As a previous poster said, its only a couple of months out now (less than 3 till the companies stop engaging), so they need to get their finger out to stop major disruption across a wide range of companies.

    From my side - the party that says something specific (what and by when) on this matter will rule themselves wither in or out for my vote. If you all say nothing, then you will simply not get a vote at all.

    1. DaveDaveDave

      Re: Weasel words

      What major disruption? You may not like it, but if you're a fake contractor you'll have to stop the pretence and pay the tax due. How does that disrupt anything?

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Weasel words

        "if you're a fake contractor you'll have to stop the pretence"

        The main disruption will come from those companies (mainly banks at the moment) who are deciding to stop using contractors altogether due to the changes in liability. This will affect a large number of real contractors whether they work for these banks or not, as it will completely change the market landscape. It will also have a massive effect on those companies themselves, probably leading to delays in projects, which is likely to have a knock on effect to the wider economy.

        And don't think that those in permanent employment will be unaffected either. There is a good chance that this will affect salaries across the board, as some contractors move to perm.

        This will likely shake up the entire tech sector. If you think otherwise, you have your head buried in the sand. The jury is still out on what this effect will be in the long term, but it will certainly be a massive disruption in the short to medium term.

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Weasel words

        "What major disruption? You may not like it, but if you're a fake contractor you'll have to stop the pretense and pay the tax due. How does that disrupt anything?"

        What if you're a real contractor[1] but your client isn't willing to accept liability[2] so decide to put you inside even though you have done all of your due diligence and had your contract & working practices reviewed by a recognised institution in this area and been deemed outside? What if the client just doesn't want to take the time to understand the legislation and takes the easy route?

        [1] Please don't take that as me accepting your term "Fake contractor" - for the purpose of the argument I'm lowering myself to your lever because I doubt you would understand anything else.

        [2] Bearing in mind that the legislation isn't finalised yet and the guidance for companies isn't due out until march (a few weeks before implementation)

  5. steamnut

    Yeah right...

    David Cameron said he would look at it but then he and George Osborne just reformed it a bit and still left us with the same problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah right...

      Osborne was my MP. I wrote to him in the early noughties explaining why ir35 was a bad idea. His office responded saying the tories were anti ir35 and would scrap it.

      Nuff said.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Yeah right...

      And we look back to that period and think what we would do to have back politicians as good as Cameron, Clegg, Milliband and co.

      Not that they were that good, just what we have now is so bad.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Yeah right...

        @MJI

        "have back politicians as good as Cameron, Clegg, Milliband and co."

        Hell no. Left, left and left offering various visions of the same shit same plate. Where is the choice? The variation?

        Now we have a commie and socialist vs the party that cant deliver vs the (anti) lib (anti) dem. And yes there are fairy parties like the greens but again where is the right wing?

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: Yeah right...

          "where is the right wing?"

          Erm... The Tories are further right than they've been in a very long time, certainly more so than the centre-right they were under Cameron.

          If you're looking for someone more right-wing, you are looking for the far right, so may I suggest the BNP (or their friendlier-faced splinter groups, UKIP & BP)?

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Yeah right...

            @Dr. Mouse

            "Erm... The Tories are further right than they've been in a very long time"

            Kinda worrying isnt it. Bigger government, more intervention in the market, more gov spending. Even the 'austerity' was spending more money than before (more than brown!).

            "If you're looking for someone more right-wing, you are looking for the far right, so may I suggest the BNP (or their friendlier-faced splinter groups, UKIP & BP)?"

            To be entirely honest I havnt looked at BP since they are ducking out of seats to help the tories but the idea that to find right wing you must look to the far right is the problem. On the left you have commie nutjobs, Iliberal antidemocrats and the tories sitting where New Labour was (centre left).

            Granted this GE is pretty much sitting around positions on brexit but when the vision is left, left or left.

            1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              Re: Yeah right...

              "the tories sitting where New Labour was (centre left)"

              You're kidding, right? They are only centre-left if you are looking from an American PoV (where they have right-wing and further-right wing as a reference scale). They're not even centre-right anymore with the nutjobs they have in charge now!

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Yeah right...

                @Dr. Mouse

                "You're kidding, right? They are only centre-left if you are looking from an American PoV"

                Not at all. Even Osborne/Cameron made a concerted effort to move into the centre left ground when labour went all stalin. More gov, more gov spending, price caps etc so where is the right? I have no problem calling them nutjobs or whatever, but not right wing.

                Defections from the tories to the lib dems has been amusing. Lib dems are not centre left, they are left so why are tories seeing them as an option? Labour is nowhere near the centre now and is full on marxist. Change UK (for its short existence) was left. So where is the right wing? UKIP used to be centre left libertarian but even that option has gone now.

                1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

                  Re: Yeah right...

                  https://www.politicalcompass.org/uk2019

                  I don't agree with all of it, but this is not a million miles off my own perceptions of the parties (except for the Lib Dems). I'd probably move everyone a little to the left, and the LibDems a lot, but I'd still have the Tories a long way to the right.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Yeah right...

                    @Dr. Mouse

                    "I'd probably move everyone a little to the left, and the LibDems a lot, but I'd still have the Tories a long way to the right."

                    The libs maybe further left but the scale seems to be off. It has labour and green on there but no BNP to balance it out which would move tory/libs left a bit. Hell there is a space to the left of labour, what for? Kim Jong? Which shows a massive space missed on the right (which I am complaining about),

                    Labour most certainly need to be moved up a lot (marxist/stalinist policies are not authoritarian? How did that not happen?) as with the greens. I am not sure how tory are so authoritarian without labour being right above them.

                    To fix that chart we need nutty left and nutty right on there so labour to BNP for example. That would move the libs to left wing without being nutty left nor centre. The cons would of course find themselves flirting with the centre line (no idea for UKIP/BP, gave up on UKIP when they won and BP aint fielding to win so dont care) and there is an empty space to the right.

                    Interestingly when Farage was running UKIP I was voting them and lib dem. The two most libertarian parties. I am not a tory supporter (nor was I New Labour) there is something seriously wrong with that chart that the left authoritarians are considered libertarian, not all belong down there.

                    Shame the lib dems want to do such an authoritarian thing as ditch brexit but then they always seem to have really bad ideas mixed with some good.

            2. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Re: Yeah right...

              but the idea that to find right wing you must look to the far right is the problem.

              The idea that the political spectrum is non-contiguous is the problem.

              It's a circle, got too far right or too far left and you end up at the same place.

              Actually, the zone of optimum freedom and liberty is extremely narrow on the political spectrum.

              I'm increasingly of the opinion the entire political edifice needs pulling down like an unsafe building and something less structurally unsound created in it's place.

              @Codejunky - The idea that the tories are sitting on the same point as new labour was on the spectrum, is laughable, but I notice your writing style has begun to resemble Bombastic Bobs, so maybe that's just another symptom of your malaise.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Yeah right...

                @Teiwaz

                "It's a circle, got too far right or too far left and you end up at the same place."

                That I can agree with.

                "Actually, the zone of optimum freedom and liberty is extremely narrow on the political spectrum"

                Something lost with increased authoritarianism. Something which has been occurring (e.g. war on terror) yet no option to reduce state interference seems available.

                "I'm increasingly of the opinion the entire political edifice needs pulling down like an unsafe building and something less structurally unsound created in it's place."

                The danger of the rebuild of government is the usual that happens almost everywhere. The people who get in are worse. Reducing it back down to an accountable size is most likely to succeed if it is done before the gov is too authoritarian.

                "@Codejunky - The idea that the tories are sitting on the same point as new labour was on the spectrum, is laughable, but I notice your writing style has begun to resemble Bombastic Bobs, so maybe that's just another symptom of your malaise."

                Or you are a boiling frog. Tory energy price caps, more gov spending than brown (who pissed money away), increasing minimum wage and so on. I know labour lean so far left they have almost fallen over and 'NuLabour' have retrospectively been labelled 'blue labour' but that would make these guys at least red tories if not outright left of centre.

          2. druck Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Yeah right...

            The tories are not further right, if you take off the Brexit blinkers, the majority of Boris' policies are socially liberal - Mrs T would have described him as a 'wet'.

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Labour is still going to hit Contractors

    Despite the waffle that McDonnell said on Radio 5 this morning. His weasel words about supporting Small Businesses meant more Tax take from everyone.

    IR35 was a Labor policy and to me there are no signs of any significant reform in the offing from them. They want to put everyone on PAYE even Sole Traders.

    No party is the friend of Contractors.

    It is just a question of who is the lesser evil.

    otherwise... all the others can [see icon]

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    " Last week the taxman weathered more criticism of its re-released Check Employment Status Tool"

    I wonder if they've tested it against cases they've lost. If not, perhaps someone else will.

  8. SVV Silver badge

    reform will be welcomed by contractors who have understandably lost trust in this government.

    Er, they've promised a review, not reform. And I think we can all predict what the conclusions of that review will be once they've been re-elected.

    So, speak for yourself if you are gullible enough to believe them, rather than all contractors, because I an't gonna "welcome" some last minute vague pledge about a review made in an attempt to win votes, just so they can turn round afterwards and say "we did do the review and it concluded that we should now go ahead with it as previously planned, so we weren't deceiving anyone".

    1. Frogmaster

      Re: reform will be welcomed by contractors who have understandably lost trust in this government.

      Er, a reading of the quote shows that he has promised diddly squat. "I want to look at" translates into.....zero. There are many things he should be looking at and his redundancy needs to be top of that list.

  9. julian_n

    Sajid Javid

    Is this the same Sajid Javid who said in 2009 "We should also restore our Social Chapter opt out (and produce UK rules that actually work, perhaps similar to those in Australia) and repeal the silly IR35 tax on providers of personal services."

    Taken a bit of a long time, eh?

  10. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    More political bulls**t...

    "However, any review must be genuine and not lip service simply to win the votes of independent workers."

    And the chances of that actually happening are effectively zero given that they are all workshy asshats.

  11. NogginTheNog
    Flame

    "Review"

    = then try and squeeze even more out of those damn contractors!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Run it through the electioneering translator

    They're happy to promise all sorts of impossible bullshit that they can never deliver, but for IR35 it's "we'll review it"? That's pretty much a cast-iron guarantee to do absolutely nothing about it, when calibrated against the election pledge scale.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Run it through the electioneering translator

      Usually, a lot of election promises are forgotten with the champagne hangover of the victors, so it doesn't really seem to be worth worrying over...

      Every election that seems to get forgotten.

  13. silus

    We saw them 'review' this only recently...

    Considering in the IR35 'consultation' they were warned from all sides what the consequences would be. Places would simply blanket ban contractors for fear of getting IR35 determinations wrong. We saw this in the public sector where many many projects collapsed due to exodus of workers.

    What was the result? That IR35 was 'working' in public sector (it wasn't), there was 'no evidence' for blanket IR35 determinations (there was, and subsequently were ahead of private sector too).

    Considering they completely ignored everything that happened when it was brought in the public sector and ignored all the advice about what would happen, the consultation was a massive joke in favour of simply driving IR35 forward. Seeing as we've seen them demonstrate completely ignoring the facts, any such 'review' they promise will be the exact same box-ticking exercise to drive it forward they already did in recent months.

    No sane person could believe that the tories would do anything to change course, as they'd have to admit their very recent 'consultation' was all smoke and mirrors and was flawed.

  14. John Smith 8

    What?

    People are still believing what the tories are saying? Amazing. Despite absolutely no indications they were regretting doing this before an election.

    They must really think we button up the back.

  15. Andys1342

    Well there are 5 million votes up for grabs, including mine. If the conservatives actually say they will postpone the introduction of the changes until after a review I will vote for them, otherwise its LibDem. This has a massive impact on me as if I cannot get more contracts I will have to go full time and I like the flexibility I have. The really silly thing is that if I did go full time, based on a job I have been offered, I would effectively pay 29% LESS tax overall. HMRC need to get their facts straight about how much tax they really get because of the changes. I bet for the public sector they included the PAYE tax in their claims but conveniently ignored the loss of corporate tax from all the little service companies that got closed down. I bet the net effect was they lost tax income due to the changes not increased it.

    This will have a massive negative impact on the economy, right at the same time as Brexit. The conservatives only have a few days to clarify their position, I am obviously not going to vote for comrad Corbin and the communist party.

  16. hoola Bronze badge

    Puzzled

    I am genuinely puzzled by the attitude and many of the comments of contractors. There appears to be a view that is take it of leave it. If it is leave it then "I will go and work outside of the UK" is the main focus.

    As a permanent employee in a team we do occasionally use contractors, some are good some are okay but many are mediocre or plain bad. Most are paid the same and we understand that as a contractor there are certain risks and liabilities that mean the daily rate is more than a FTE.

    For all those contractors that say IR35 is so bad that they are basically going to stop work, then what?

    They have to live off something and there is only so much one can have as a hump. If the big companies decide that they are not going to use contractors then take a hit on projects to god forbid, employ people on fixed-term contracts or whatever, then the contractors are simply not going to have the work.

    If that hump to cover the bad times is large that you can stop working for years, either retire very early or just sit around then it does rather fuel the arguments that contractors are paid too much. Long-term daily rate contracts that are essentially fixed term FTE are an abuse of the system by the companies who are engaging their services. The people engaging their services are also part of the problem.

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