Bill Esterson, Labour’s Shadow Small Business Minister, has confirmed if elected, the party would halt the roll-out of the changes to IR35 into the private sector next April.
At the Freelance and Small Business Debate, organised by IPSE, Enterprise Nation, ICAEW, TEN and COADEC, Mr Esterson said: “We absolutely can’t see it rolled out into the private sector the way things are at the moment.”
Asked later to confirm it was Labour Party policy to review IR35 and not roll the changes out to the private sector in April 2020, he tweeted: “absolutely”.
At the event, Mr Esterson also said: “We need to support the self-employed in this country. We need to make sure that our tax system is diverse so that it matches the needs of being self-employed and is also consistent with the risk that is taken.”
Mr Esterson also directly cited IPSE’s manifesto when explaining Labour’s commitment to clamp down on late payments.
Simon McVicker, Director of Policy at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: “We are absolutely delighted that Labour has heeded our calls to halt the roll-out of the disastrous changes to IR35 next April. As Bill Esterson pointed out at our debate, when the changes were introduced in the public sector, they caused serious skills shortages in the health service and beyond.
“The pledge to halt and review the changes will be very welcome to freelancers across the UK. The review would give IPSE the chance to clearly show the damage these changes would do and stop them once and for all.
“Labour’s manifesto commitment to raise corporation and dividend tax caused concern among freelancers and is still a worry. However, pledging to halt and review the changes to IR35 shows the party is serious about the self-employed.
“Now both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have heeded IPSE and the freelance community on IR35, it’s time for the Conservatives to take note too. The 5 million-strong self-employed sector is vital to the economy and the country and its voice must be heard this election.”