PCG calls for fresh approach to freelancing

6 Jan

As we flip the calendar onto a new decade we inevitably start to reflect on the past, set goals for the future and ponder on what fate has in store for us.  Sadly, the one thing clearly evident is that we face a very uncertain future.  Despite signs that the economy is picking up with the stock market, retail and manufacturing all indicating positively (we may even officially be out of the recession) it is clear that unemployment and inflation will continue to rise and this will have repercussions on how we emerge, whether we see a double dip and ultimately how strongly we will develop as an economy. 
Uncertainty abounds in our political future too, will Gordon Brown survive today’s challenge to his leadership?  Regardless of the outcome of this challenge, all signs point to a government change in the spring and indeed, even if Labour return to power we are looking at a much changed political environment.  Whatever the flavour of future government they will need to be observant, fleeter of foot, more creative and prepared to effect real and often fundamental change. 
In this environment PCG is renewing its call for a fresh approach to freelancing, emphasising the vital role freelancing has to play in assisting growth.  Government and policy framers have failed to recognise the value of the UK’s 1.4 million freelancers despite overwhelming evidence that freelance businesses are the bedrock of the economy, bringing essential flexibility and skills. 
In Quarter 4 2009 PCG launched its Fairness, Clarity, Recognition: Manifesto for Freelancing.  Copies have been sent to all MPs and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates as well as stakeholders.  We will be emphasising these points hard in the run up to the election.
PCG is leading the way by calling for a fairer tax and regulatory regime.  We need a pro-business climate fostered in the UK, a real commitment from policy framers to think small first, not just say it.  Fair regulation means regulation that is clear, accessible and not unduly burdensome. 
Fairness means allowing freelancers easier access to the market for their services.  The Government needs to ensure regulatory barriers, burdens and costs to tendering are reduced, so freelancers can truly compete with larger businesses.
Heavy handed and senseless laws weigh business down like a ball and chain.  This is even more so with nano-businesses.  Every hour spent complying with red tape is an hour not spent productively.  We need to free up Britain’s talents to create wealth, not stifle them with top down bureaucracy.
Elsewhere, PCG is asking that in future all Government departments will have to ensure that 10% of their procurement budgets will go to nano-businesses and that Government departments and their contractors must not discriminate against freelancers who do not have pre-existing security clearance when it chooses which freelancers to award a contract to.
Looking at short term opportunity and long term competitiveness issues, Intra Company Transfers (ICTs) to flaunt immigration laws could have a very profound long-term effect as well as limiting the current opportunities for our freelance contractors and consultants.  Government must be vigilant to such problems and prepared to stand up to large companies who are breaking the rules.
It is PCG’s fundamental belief and echoed by most leading business commentators that flexibility in the labour market is the key to ensuring Britain’s future economic success.  The next Government must encourage freelancing as a flexible, innovative and entrepreneurial way of working that enables business to perform more cost-effectively, especially when recovering from recession.
The start of a new decade provides an opportunity for fresh, innovative thinking.  We will be continuing to push this message up to the election and beyond.

For more information on PCG activities, visit www.pcg.org.uk


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