Self-employment review recommends 10 actions
David Cameron-commissioned review
of self-employment has reported back with 10 recommendations, some of which
have the potential to improve freelancers’ bottom lines.
So mortgage products should be made more ‘freelancer-friendly’ (recommendation 3), and maternity pay for the self-employed should be matched to that of employees’ (recommendation 4).
But in terms of the freelance workforce as a whole, the biggest recommendation appears to be recommendation 7, as it says all future government policy must take freelancers into account.
Specifically: “Currently an Impact Assessment is carried out to calculate the impact that new policies will have on different sectors. Self-employment is not one of these sectors and it should be.”
The reasoning in the review, led by entrepreneur Julie Deane, is that factoring freelancers in is “one step towards” creating proportionate, simple and cost-effective rules from the outset.
These aims appear to be behind another of the review’s recommendation – for government to come up with a single definition of self-employment for tax and employment law purposes.
The absence of such a definition “is causing an issue” says the review, as is the absence of a “central portal” from which people can get official advice and support when ‘going it alone.’
As well as setting up such a site to combat the “confusion” people feel from duplication of public bodies’ advice, a review of the ‘.gov.uk’ pages on self-employment is recommended.
Similarly in terms of education, Deane calls for guidance on finance, bookkeeping and taxation to be brought into the national curriculum, to help all workers not just the self-employed.
She also wants an adoption allowance for the self-employed; more co-working spaces and better details about their locations, plus IT guidance for one-man bands wanting to grow.
Meanwhile, taxation is one area that was beyond the review’s scope. However, it came up so much during Deane consulting with traders that she thinks officials should look at tax again, “in more detail.”
The entrepreneur says she is looking forward to the government’s reply
to her 10 recommendations over the “coming months,” suggesting it may come as
soon as Budget 2016 on March 16th.