Looking forward to 2011

1 Jan
John Brazier

PCG's Managing Director John Brazier

New year, new challenges, new opportunities. 
The economic problems both at home and abroad will ensure the next twelve months will be testing for everyone in the UK.
The spectre of redundancies, public sector cut backs and financial uncertainty will cause many to welcome in the New Year with a degree of trepidation, but I believe that if there is one sector of our community ready for the challenges ahead it is the UK’s growing freelance community.
By their very nature this is a skilled, resourceful and flexible group able to adapt quickly to the needs of clients. This acceptance that freelancers and contractors play a growing and influential role in our economy was underlined by the recent PCG poll carried out by ComRes.
There were many fascinating insights into the impact of freelancing and why more and more people are choosing freelancing as a lifestyle choice, but I would draw your attention to a couple of results from the survey:
Of the 668 businesses taking part in the poll, a resounding majority gave a vote of support to freelancers. 60% of business leaders confess that it would be difficult for their business to operate without freelancers and well over half of business leaders polled said freelancers were essential to growing the UK economy.
The flexibility of the freelance community was underlined with 64% of businesses approached saying the concept of a traditional ‘9 to 5 day’ was old hat and didn’t apply to those who worked for them. Despite economic doubts, while around three quarters of businesses envisage opportunities for freelancers within their organisations to increase or at least stay the same in the next 12 months.
In a letter to PCG the Prime Minister David Cameron perhaps best summed up the growing appreciation of freelancers and the role they play. He said of our sector:
“I can’t tell you how much admiration I have for people who leave the comfort of a regular wage to strike out on their own. It takes a lot of courage –and without that courage this country would be a much poorer place.
“The 1.4million freelancers in our country make a massive contribution to our economy. More and more people are choosing freelancing, recognising that it strikes the right balance between work and life in the 21st century, and as we go for economic growth this Government is getting right behind them.”

The Prime Minister is spot on to recognise that more and more people see freelancing as a choice where they can get the right balance between work and lifestyle.

PCG will continue to work with and for our members. Our Chairman Chris Bryce will ensure PCG’s voice is heard at the Consultative Committee of the newly formed Office of Tax Simplification as they review small business taxation including IR35. Our goal has always been for a fairer and more transparent tax system for freelancers.
PCG continues to explore, expand and engage. In Europe we will continue to formally liaise with our European partners in order to head off any possible unhelpful legislation.

Our campaigning on the abuse of intra-company transfer permits (ICTs) has yielded a number of changes to immigration policy as has our lobbying on the question of security clearances, a persistent issue for many members. On both issues PCG has made much progress, but we continue to be both vigilant and vocal while working positively with government agencies.

We continue to develop relationships with a variety of organisations and at a personel level I was delighted to be asked in 2010 to join the CBI’s Trade Association Council, one of the three ‘policy input’ channels that CBI rely on.
PCG is the UK’s biggest organisation representing some of our 1.4 million freelancers. We are a young organisation that continues to grow, mature and evolve. Our voice is informed and incisive. Our arguments are both cogent and convincing.

The toast for 2011 from the PCG is quite simple… New year, new challenges, new opportunities.


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