Stop fighting mythical dragons George and let small businesses roar

29 Mar

In the run up to the budget on the 21st March, I called on the Chancellor to come out fighting for the UK’s smallest businesses, a sector that contributes £82 billion to the UK economy annually – freelancing. As the dust settles on the Budget, how well did the Chancellor do?

John Brazier, PCG’s Managing Director

Whilst welcoming the rise in the personal allowance, the Budget contained little to significantly help the UK’s 1.6 million freelance businesses.  Specifically, the Government did not further clarify IR35 and a new consultation raises deep concerns over the future of interims and some freelancers operating within the public and private sectors. Continue reading

Your association needs you

15 Mar

The lifeblood of any organisation stems from its members and this important aspect is live and well at PCG with a 30 strong Consultative Council (CC) elected from our membership. The CC is the advisory body that supports and informs the Board of issues raised by the membership. So, if you feel passionately about freelancing and the role of PCG, then this could certainly be for you.

In order for this tradition to continue the Consultative Council needs members like you to help PCG continue to evolve and develop.

Are you intending to vote for someone at the PCG Consultative Council (CC) elections in May? Better still, are you putting yourself forward for one of the 15 places on offer this year?
 

Below current CC and Board member, information security consultant Simon Gardner, shares his experiences of the role. 

PCG Board and CC member Simon Gardner

“I’ve been a member of PCG since its inception and always felt strongly about defending the rights of the freelance contractor,” says Gardner. “In the early years, I didn’t really feel confident enough to get involved other than with discussions on the internet forums. But, over time, I got increasingly interested in issues of governance and strategy and wanted to contribute more to the organisation that has served me and other freelancers so well.” Continue reading

With this witch-hunt, the devil is in the detail

29 Feb

John Brazier, PCG's Managing Director

In recent weeks PCG have spoken up on behalf of freelancers and limited companies in the media from the Financial Times, to the Guardian, to BBC Radio. In response to enquiries from Exaro news, who have been breaking stories around the use of limited companies throughout the last few months, we submitted the below commentary piece to them which is currently live on the exaro newswire homepage here.

This is yet again intended to redress the balance in the media and prevent panicky decisions that could negatively impact genuine freelance businesses. Below we have shared this latest article, a first person piece from PCG’s Managing Director John Brazier:

With this witch-hunt – the devil is in the detail Continue reading

The taxing question of Mr Lester

2 Feb

PCG's Chairman Chris Bryce

One rule for them and another for us?

That seems to be the case in the Ed Lester and the Student Loan Company saga.

Many contractors will have seen the story on BBC2’s news flagship Newsnight highlighting the contractual arrangements between the Student Loans Company (SLC) and its CEO, Ed Lester.

The report focussed on Mr Lester’s use of a limited company to contract his services to SLC, an arrangement that started when Mr Lester was an interim and was then continued after his employment apparently became of a more permanent nature – and specifically that senior politicians and HMRC had agreed to this arrangement. Continue reading

Size, shape and value, a look ahead to freelance research in 2012

13 Jan

Helen Giddings, PCG's Research and Information Officer

I was flicking through the channels last week and caught the end of a documentary that was following the developments at Cern.  The discussion essentially closed by stating that 2012 could potentially be a landmark year as scientists are closing in on the identification of the “Higgs boson particle”…Whilst I am certainly no physicist, and I have to be honest much of what they said went over my head, I could relate to their enthusiasm that 2012 will be a year of discovery, as  I too certainly feel that 2012 could herald a momentous year for discovery at PCG.

Whilst physics and freelancing draw little parallel for me as a researcher, 2012 represents a year when discoveries will pave the way. Not only will this be scientists seeking to understand how particles impact on our world but also for business in the UK as economic trends emerge and key players that sustain our economy are further understood.

My reference to “key players” here is to freelancers and I am excited that this year at PCG we are combining both quantitative and qualitative research as never before to not only study the size of the freelance workforce but to also to understand the contribution of this population on business. 2011 saw us develop research projects that benchmarking researchers experience and looked to the dynamics of the wider freelance population, which will come to fruition in the 2012 research calendar.  In case you’re intrigued, here’s a brief taster of some of the projects to come: Continue reading

Tributes roll in for National Freelancers Day 23 November

22 Nov

John Brazier, PCG's Managing Director

I am delighted once again by the support that has come through for National Freelancers Day taking place tomorrow. Today we announced a 12% increase in the number of people opting to become freelancers and as these new figures are released by Kingston University and as we do this, business leaders and politicians have rallied their support for freelancing. The number of freelancers in the UK now totals 1.56 million or 1 in 20 in the UK workforce, a 12% increase on 2008.

There is no real way to describe the breadth of support from political, business and from our fellow trade associations  so I have listed their comments below, many thanks to all those involved in providing them and please do visit http://www.nationalfreelancersday.org.uk tomorrow to view the fantastic webinars from contributers such as Dan Pink, Ed Gandia, Freelancer.co.uk, Nokia and many more. Continue reading

A plea to freelancers everywhere..

16 Nov

Iain McIlwee, PCG's Head of Commercial Development

OK. So here’s the challenge. I want every UK Freelancer, contractor, interim, independent professional etc to have a chance to benefit from www.nationalfreelancersday.org.uk (23rd November 2011)… and now less than a week to do it.

NFD is all about Freelancing, a chance to highlight the value and contribution of the UK Freelance Sector, 1 in 20 in the workforce, 1.4 million people who are fundamental, key, vital, cruical, really really important etc. to the economy in the UK and our prospects of recovery. Continue reading

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