Pain delay!

9 Dec

As the economists and analysts retire to do the number-crunching on today’s Pre-Budget Report (PBR), including those from PCG itself, we are left contemplating the full extent of the Chancellor’s plans. As the report provides no incentives for SMEs to employ more permanent staff, the advantages of engaging freelancers become clear as the viable option to help SMEs in the recovery.  By engaging freelancers, companies minimise the risks and the costs typically associated with recruiting employees, and are able to tap into a pool of specialist skills on demand, allowing them to grow their business.

With unemployment likely to rise, freelancing certainly represents an excellent way to re-enter the labour market more quickly, as it allows flexibility for both worker and client. This echoes the Government’s repeated sentiment that those out of work must return to the labour market as soon as possible. For highly skilled professionals, especially the experienced ones, the option of self-employment surely provides a quick response.  

On a side note, I wrote a letter to Peter Mandelson in November 2008 asking for the 10 day prompt payment initiative to be extended down the contractual chain. When it was first introduced, agencies and prime contractors were not paying the freelancers they were subcontracting promptly. I note today that in the PBR the Government reiterates its commitment to ensuring 90% of its invoices are paid within 10 days, especially to small business. This was welcome to read, buried as it was in the full report, as Lord Mandelson never got around to writing back to me.

It looks like the calm before the storm. We were expecting a much harsher statement, although this has hardly had a warm reaction from the business community. My advice is: batten down the hatches, keep your guard up and maybe have a strong drink!  

Look out May 7th!?


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