• Boris Johnson: The UK’s next Prime Minister

    Boris Johnson has been elected as the new leader of the Conservative Party today, meaning he will become Prime Minister after he meets with the Queen tomorrow.

    Johnson received 92,153 votes in his successful contest for leadership against Jeremy Hunt, who received 46,656 votes.

    The 55-year-old, who became a household name after holding the London Mayor office for eight years, was the favourite to win the contest. This is despite Johnson previously saying: “My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.”

    On election in the Queen Elizabeth II’s Conference Centre in Westminster, Johnson congratulated his “formidable” opponent Jeremy Hunt. He complimented the ideas Hunt had put forward, saying: “you have been a fountain of excellent ideas – all of which I propose to steal”.

    What does this mean for the self-employed?

    In a congratulatory letter to Johnson, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) explained the diversity and productivity of the self-employed sector, highlighting that it contributes enough to the economy to fund the NHS twice-over. 

    Chris Bryce, CEO at IPSE, said: “The Conservatives under Johnson must rediscover their place as the party of business. Small business in particular is being hit by poorly thought through policies like IR35, which are a massive drag on productivity.

    “If he wants to energise the country and make the UK truly globally competitive, he and his new team must get behind our most can-do and productive people: the £275bn self-employed sector.”

    To keep the UK economy flexible and competitive in the run-up to Brexit, IPSE urged Johnson to work with the self-employed sector and give it the support it needs. To support freelancers, IPSE has suggested:

    • Build a modern tax system for the self-employed: the UK’s overly complex tax system needs clarifying and updating for the modern age and rising self-employment. 
    • Promote British business and entrepreneurialism: at present, the UK’s nearest trading partner, Ireland, has a corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent. 
    • Reduce the retrospective nature of the loan charge: Current measures to tackle the loan charge include the targeting of arrangements made up to twenty years ago. IPSE believes the government should reduce this to six years, which is the standard for tax investigations.
    • Late payment: freelancers spend an average of 20 days per year chasing late payment and, in some sectors, lose an average of £5000 per year to clients who fail to pay. IPSE hopes the new government will continue to strengthen the role of the small business commissioner to stamp this out.
    • Broadband infrastructure: entrepreneurialism could be unleashed across the UK, from cities to rural villages, if they have access to consistent, superfast broadband. Currently, adequate coverage is limited to urban hubs. IPSE recommend super-fast broadband service being available for all by 2025.
    • Support disabled freelancers: disabled people are one in seven of all freelancers, but overlooked in the previous Prime Minister’s disability action plan launched on 25 June 2019 and in welfare reforms

    Andrew Wray, Fiverr’s Country Manager for the UK, told Modern Work: “We released research showing 67 per cent of Brits want to quit their jobs to go freelance, so we viewed turning a London Eye pod into the home office of the future as a really great opportunity to draw awareness to this generational shift.

    “It’s been a first for her, a first for us and a first for the London Eye. It’s thrown up a few logistical challenges for the team, but we’re confident this is the first time a mobile office has been turned out for a London Eye pod.”

    Throughout the day, Fiverr opened out the space to freelancers. Mr Wray said: “We’ve got a range of UK Fiverr sellers, some who’ve been with us for over nine years, and some who use it as a side hustle or a full-time gig. Partly it’s to celebrate the community of Fiverr and partly it’s to raise awareness about the growing trend of freelancing in the UK.”

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