The freelance work ethic
Are you working hard enough? If you’re one of those people who complains that Government policy isn’t giving your business the fair wind it needs to succeed, then the answer is no – at least according to the Foreign Secretary. William Hague has told the Sunday Telegraph that in order to pull Britain out of recession, whingers in business should stop moaning and put in more effort instead. And in case you think Mr Hague might have been misrepresented, his Cabinet colleague Eric Pickles has been touring the radio studios making the same point.
It’s a message that will rankle with many freelancers – it certainly does with me. And not simply because so many of us are already working long hours in order to grow our businesses (thus doing our bit for the economy as a whole). What’s really annoying about Mr Hague’s comments is his misreading of what people have actually been complaining about.
Critics of Government policy have not been asking for a breather or some kind of hand-out – what they’re after is more deregulation so that their hard work is actually put to greater use. With less red tape to worry about, we could all spend more of our (long) working days doing something productive.
Those freelancers affected by the IR35 tax regulation know all about this frustration – and profess themselves less than impressed by the Government’s attempts to make life easier. My colleagues at the PCG say that the reforms announced over the past week simply don’t reflect the spirit of the promises made by the Chancellor in his Budget last year.
There’s plenty more on IR35 elsewhere on this site and I don’t have the space here to discuss the reforms in detail. But let’s just say Mr Hague ought to look a little closer to home if he wants to identify those individuals not working hard enough to get the economy back on track (and we won’t even mention the seven week recess for Parliament this summer).