The significant presence of small businesses and flexible working in this year's Queen's Speech is an indicator of the significant role this sector is playing in the UK's economic recovery, the PCG believes.
pension changes will give contractors more flexibility when investing their pension savings
Some of the measures that should help contractors include a review of the red tape that affects small companies, according to an article on the Contractor Calculator website. New tax-free childcare subsidies of up to £2,000 per child on a yearly basis were also seen as a positive step. Moreover, pension changes will give contractors more flexibility when investing their pension savings. And in the energy, oil & gas and construction sectors, measures intended to encourage shale gas development could lead to a surge in demand for contractors.
Other benefits for contractors were identified in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which gives freelancers better access to government and public sector contracts.
PCG's policy and public affairs director, Simon McVicker, welcomed the improved access to tender for contracts. This will allow small businesses and self-employed individuals to further engage in the public sector. However, McVicker said that more must be done on the subject of late payments, since contractors rely on systematic cash flows in order to meet their expenses.
According to the PCG director, the Prompt Payment Code must be obligatory for large businesses. He said that a “comply or explain” system is a start, but more decisive action is needed if the issue is to be absolutely resolved.
The Queen's Speech also incorporated a National Insurance Contributions (NIC) Bill, which is expected to make NIC payments more straightforward for contractors while providing new anti-avoidance powers for HMRC.