In amongst the text of the Information Technology policy paper are a few short paragraphs on IR35. The crux of it is this: the IR35 rules are unworkable and should be suspended, while further consideration is given to permanent abolition. Freelancers of all political persuasions will be delighted to learn that the policy was endorsed by the conference.
What this is really going to mean for freelancers is as yet unclear. Although it seems likely that the immediate suspension of IR35 is now Lib Dem party policy I’m told there are sometimes a few quirks which can pop up in the Party mechanism which could alter this. Furthermore the timing does seem to be a little off: the Lib Dems form part of the Coalition Government which has already undertaken a thorough review of IR35 and has committed to keeping it in place while improving its administration by HMRC. That work is still ongoing and will not be abandoned as a result of this vote.
Nevertheless it is heartening to know that some MPs do still recognise that the world would be a better place without IR35. In Julian Huppert’s own words: ‘It’s important to create conditions that reward innovation and talent.’ PCG have contacted Mr Huppert and we will hopefully soon be able to clarify whether this endorsement of policy by the Lib Dems might change the Government’s position. In the meantime we will continue to work with the IR35 Forum to improve the situation on the ground for freelancers working in the UK
Who knows, maybe the Tories will listen!!