Andrew Griffiths has recently been appointed the new Small Business Minister. It is Mr. Griffiths responsibility to build an environment in which all small businesses based in the UK can prosper.
The UK has 5.7 million small businesses, and all have different needs, making the task a challenging one for the minister.
Two million UK small business owners are self-employed people, so it is important that the minister tackles how the government treats independent workers.
In addition to that, independent workers are increasingly making a greater economic contribution to the UK – £119 billion in 2016. If Mr. Griffiths wishes to make a real difference in his new role, he would do well to focus on the independent workforce.
With this in mind, the biggest issue for contractors is the IR35 legislation. Recent reforms and possible changes in the future have left many contractors concerned about finding themselves wrongly placed inside IR35 due to decisions made by their public-sector clients, and possibly in the future by private sector clients.
An IR35 consultation has been promised for 2018, but so far there has been no clear indication as to what shape this consultation might take. If the minister were to understand the importance of ensuring that the review is fair, then he could hold the key to progress on the issues.
Of course, if the Government has decided that it will introduce IR35 reform into the private sector then Mr Griffiths will not be able to reverse that decision. However, he could be hailed as the contractors’ friend if he is able to acknowledge the failings of IR35 and pledge to resolve as many as possible.