What might the result of the general election mean for contractors?

Thursday 7th May, 2015
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Industry news

The first UK general election for five years will take place today (Thursday May 7th), with the nation poised to see whether there will be one clear winner or if it will be left dealing with another coalition government.

With this in mind, we have taken a look at what's in the manifestos of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties for contractors, freelancers and the self-employed.

Labour

Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband has pledged that if he wins the general election, he will introduce a British Investment Bank to make lending easier for small businesses and limited company contractors, while he will also ban zero-hours contracts, to make sure all workers know that they are guaranteed enough hours to take home a fair wage.

In addition, Mr Miliband has committed to introducing a new rule that would mean all those earning above £150,000 have to pay 50p of income tax for every £1 they make. Again, the Labour leader has announced this with the view of making working conditions fairer for people in the UK, but contractors earning a particularly high amount may find themselves adversely affected by this.

Also in relation to business in Labour's manifesto are plans to cut and then freeze energy bills and business rates, alongside guaranteeing apprenticeships for all school leavers who attain certain grades.

Speaking to BBC News, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry John Cridland commented: "Labour's manifesto includes a number of proposals that are positive for business, including remaining within a reformed EU, establishing an independent infrastructure commission and focusing on skills. But market interventions in labour and other specific sectors, together with signals on corporation tax, are a cause for concern."

However, Mr Miliband has come under fire from some for his refusal to take part in a supplement for IPSE magazine, which would have provided him with an ample opportunity to reach out to contractors, freelancers and the self-employed.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon all took part in the feature, meaning Labour is the only party to have missed out on the chance to address the self-employed workforce.

Conservatives

Current prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron stated that the Tory manifesto revolves around two central questions: "How do we maintain our economic recovery, upon which our ambitions for our country depend? And how do we make sure that the recovery benefits every one of our citizens, at every stage of their lives?"

In the manifesto, he explains that he has plans to make Britain the ideal place to set up a new business, meaning the self-employed workforce could potentially expand further under a Conservative government, while he has also announced intentions to cut some £10 billion of business-related red tape to help with this.

The Tories have pledged to establish a Small Business Conciliation service, which would deal with limited company issues such as disputes over late payment, alongside strengthening the Prompt Payment Code.

Mr Cameron has also said that if he remains in power after May 7th, he will introduce an initiative called Help to Grow, which will provide some £1 billion of funding to small firms that are looking to expand.

What's more, the current prime minister wants to do more to ensure all workers are earning at least the National Minimum Wage, while also bringing an end to exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts.

Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Party leader and current deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has pledged to make Britain an ideal place for entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses if his party wins the general election, while he also has plans to prevent the skills shortage from worsening.

In his party manifesto, he stated: "Our economy will be thriving, delivering balanced growth with jobs that last in every nation and region. Government will take a long-term approach to supporting business and industry, helping supply credit, skilled workers and infrastructure.

"Britain will be the place to be if you want to thrive in advanced manufacturing, science, creative, digital and green industries, and our industry will be open to ambitious entrepreneurs and thinkers from overseas."

Mr Clegg explained that under a Lib Dem government, contractors and other workers who earn below £12,500 per year will not need to pay income tax, but that rules will be in place to ensure the highest earners in society are paying their fair share to HMRC.



The Tories have pledged to establish a Small Business Conciliation service, which would deal with limited company issues such as disputes over late payment, alongside strengthening the Prompt Payment Code.