Edinburgh West MP, Christine Jardine, questioned whether the postponement of IR35 reforms, which were due to be implemented in April of this year, were simply adding to the distress felt by self-employed people during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Liberal Democrats tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill, seeking for the taxation changes to be ditched in order to protect self-employed workers. Yet this did not get to a vote.
The IR35 changes, postponed until April 2021, would see companies treat self-employed workers as employees for tax purposes, without having to provide standard employment rights such as statutory sick, maternity and redundancy pay.
The government is seeking to make the reforms in order to clamp down on tax avoidance by targeting contractors for companies who are, in practice, providing the same service as employees.
Speaking in the Commons yesterday, the Lib Dem MP said:
“Self-employed people currently face an unprecedented level of uncertainty and threat to their livelihoods, with many receiving no Government support whatsoever, unable to qualify for Universal Credit and now with the burden of major tax reforms.
“I’m having regular emails and calls with distressed constituents who are in need of urgent support but have been left out to dry by this Government.
“The postponement of IR35 until next year is purely a delaying tactic which will do absolutely nothing to reduce the devastating impact of COVID-19 which will be felt for years to come.
“Now is the time to be providing support for those in need, not adding another burden.
"I feel let down by the Labour Party for not supporting this amendment and getting it included in the Finance Bill. This would have saved thousands of people across the country from further anguish.
"The reform is short-sighted and poses a real threat to contractors, as well as recruiters. The Government needs to seriously think again.”