During its election campaign the Conservatives had published a small business manifesto declaring its support for the self-employed and recognising various difficulties that face them such as maternity, pensions and mortgages. Contractors were quick to test this support by making demands as soon as the election was over.
The following demands were made just forty eight hours after the conservatives’ victory by four of the biggest names in the industry, the contractor trade groups IPSE and the FCSA and staffing bodies APSCo and the REC.
- New ministerial posts
- A skills-led immigration policy
- Conciliation services for unpaid contractors
On the 11 May 2015, only four days after the general election, Anna Soubry was appointment as the Minister for Small Business in what is described as a new position. This appointment has been welcomed by the IPSE.
During the campaign the conservatives were vocal on cutting immigration to the UK due to a rise in negative public opinion caused by press on the amounts of benefits that immigrants receive. The conservatives have stated that their policy is not to persecute immigrants who come and genuinely work, but to make it harder to get some benefit entitlements and so this will not likely effect highly skilled contractors coming to the UK with job placements. Another issue that may affect immigration not only to the UK, but from the UK is the Conservatives planned referendum on the EU, it is reported that talks are already underway with Brussels regarding the EU freedom of movement, which would be greatly affected if the UK were to leave the EU.
In a press release by the UK government on the 19 May 2015 it was reported that Sajid Javid his first speech as Business Secretary confirmed the creation of a Small Business Concilliation Service. At present many contractors do not pursue late payments due to fear of ruining client relationships or the effort and expense of going through the small claims courts, however it is anticipated that the Small Business Concilliation Service will provide advice and for a small fee formal mediation and conciliation.
So it would seem that the Conservatives have not turned their backs on contractors as soon as the election was over and have made initial steps to follow through with promises and meet demands, but the long term impact of these is yet to be seen.
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