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IPSE: 4 ways the government can help contractors and freelancers

Aimee Horgan-Briggs

Aimee Horgan-Briggs | Marketing Assistant

Monday 3rd Sep, 2018

IPSE has published four recommendations for how the government could do more to support the UK's limited company contractors.

The UK government needs to be doing much more to support the country's limited company contractors and freelancers, according to a new report.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) published four key recommendations for the government after analysing the findings of its 'Working well for yourself: What makes for good self-employment?' report.

Spanning four different areas that could significantly improve conditions and prospects for contractors and freelancers, IPSE wants to see these acted on by parliament in the near future.

Indeed, Simon McVicker, Director of Policy at IPSE, stated: "At IPSE, we have been saying for some time that more needs to be done to open up access to training for the self-employed.

"If the government truly wants to promote 'good work' among the self-employed and ensure this way of working remains positive, the way is clear: it must do all it can to open up training and skills development opportunities for them."

So, what exactly is IPSE asking for?

 

More opportunities for contractors to upskill

Firstly, the organisation wants to see the government offering more support for limited company contractors and other self-employed workers to improve their skillsets. It's currently not always practical for contractors to take time out of their schedules to attend training courses, but this could be holding them back from winning new opportunities in the future, so it can be a tricky situation to navigate.

Therefore, IPSE wants Ministers to ensure contractors and freelancers are benefiting fairly from the Apprenticeship Levy and the Flexible Learning Fund, while it also wants adult education vouchers to be more accessible to these workers.

By being supported to build on their skills, contractors will be able to become more attractive to prospective clients, adding more value in their day-to-day work, potentially increasing their earnings too.

 

Promotion of best practice contractor-client relationships

Contractors work in their own way, choosing their own working hours, often to fit around personal or family commitments. But not all clients understand or recognise this, especially if they operate in a traditional nine-to-five manner.

In some cases, this can lead to misunderstandings and friction, so IPSE wants the government to promote best practice contractor-client relationships so that clients know what is expected of them in these situations, while respecting contractors' autonomy.

 

More co-working and co-operative opportunities

IPSE also believes that more could be done by the government to promote co-working and co-operative opportunities to self-employed individuals, as peer support can be an invaluable lifeline for people who primarily work by themselves.

Networking can be key to identifying new opportunities, as can bouncing ideas off like-minded people, and it's important for those who work from home to have a change of scenery every now and again, as this can help them to approach their work with a slightly different mindset.

But not all contractors and freelancers are aware of the remote working-friendly hubs in their local area, and do not necessarily know where to network with people in a similar situation to themselves, which IPSE wants the government to address.

 

A firmer stance on late payments

Lastly, IPSE is calling on parliament to take an even firmer stance on clients who pay contractors' invoices late or even not at all. Steps have been taken towards this in recent years, with the introduction of the Small Business Commissioner and the Prompt Payment Code to clamp down on late payers.

However, IPSE believes that the government could go further on this, enshrining this legislation and awarding the Commissioner greater powers to support self-employed workers even further and ensure that timely payment becomes the expected norm.

Will Theresa May's government listen to IPSE and take these recommendations on board? Only time will tell.