Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget focussed heavily on getting people into work, however, glossing over the issue of IR35 reforms “smacks of irony”.
The budget looks at getting people over the age of 50 and those with disabilities into work while also assisting parents with childcare subsidies.
However, the lack of details on the future of the off-payroll legislation left some feeling an opportunity had been missed.
The controversial legislation, introduced in April 2021 , makes all medium to large-scale private sector businesses responsible for determining the IR35 status of contractors they hire.
Last year the conservative government flip-flopped on reforms before settling on sticking to the status quo.
Insurance provider for the self-employed, Qdos, chief executive, Seb Maley was left “deeply disappointed by this Budget” due to the lack of details on the off-payroll legislation.
Mr Maley said: “Childcare reform aside, anyone working for themselves has a right to be deeply disappointed by this Budget.
“There are 4.3m self-employed people in the UK who contribute hundreds of billions to the economy every year. Why isn’t more being done to support them?
“The Chancellor completely ignored the IR35 legislation in his speech. This smacks of irony in a so-called back to work Budget.
“The government wants retirees to return to work but won’t address the issues plaguing IR35 reform.
“These tax changes forced many freelancers and contractors into early retirement, at a huge cost to the economy.
“Fix IR35 and retirees might be attracted back, solving skills shortages and boosting the economy. It’s a simple solution to what is a massive problem.”
The flip-flopping on IR35 reforms that happened throughout the multiple governments being formed throughout 2022 was said to have not incurred “any additional costs” to the UK.
Despite this, the lack of stability did affect a number of self-employed workers, namely a large portion of the offshore workforce.
Law firm Brookson’s managing director, Matthew Fryer, waded in on the topic saying it was “little surprise” IR35 was not mentioned.
He said: “Given the scrutiny on the sector over recent years, a period of certainty around the tax treatment of contractors is not a bad thing.
“The Government has however missed the opportunity to tidy up some of the complications associated with the off-payroll rules.
“There was no mention of umbrella company regulation, however, it is widely expected that this is something which will be progressed in the near future.”
Earlier this year it was reported that despite the rising cost of fuel bills, more than one-third of contractors surveyed by Qdos named off-payroll tax legislation as their biggest concern of 2023.
The other concern of the cost of living crisis was also addressed in the budget, however, the leader of the opposition, Kier Starmer, said the government’s plan was lacking in that department as well.
Starmer said: “The cost-of-living crisis is not over, and once again they’ve left money on the table when it comes to oil and gas companies, money that could have been better spent on working people.
“Politics is about whose side you’re on, and there are loopholes that urgently need closing; even the former CEO of Shell admitted that they should be paying more.”