24-hour protest against IR35 proposed
A national day of action against IR35 is being proposed by a campaigner.
“[At this early] planning stage”, he said “[the event involves] a march to the Houses of Parliament, a few speeches and a petition [delivered]….to 10 Downing Street.”
But another IR35 critic, Graham Fisher, thinks that despite a consultation on the extension being overdue (according to his forecasts), officials have likely already decided that it will go ahead.
“Our general view is that HM Treasury and HMRC are not accepting any evidence pointing to the public sector changes being anything other than a resounding success.
Fisher, who is managing director of accountants Orange Genie added: “In the unlikely event that they recognise the failure of the public sector implementation, any changes might be delayed to 2020.”
A new private members bill is being launched in the House of Lords today in the latest bid to toughen-up late payment legislation. The bill proposed by Labour peer Lord Mendelsohn contains a statutory limit of 30 days for paying bills. It also outlaws unfair payment practices like subcontractors having to pay fees to get on main contractors’ preferred lists of suppliers and payment of fees to get paid earlier under supply chain finance schemes. The bill also mandates the use of project bank accounts for public sector works over £500,000 allows small construction firms to refer payment disputes to the Small Business Commissioner rather than go through adjudication. Lord Mendelsohn said: “Late payment is crippling small businesses while the UK economy is crying out for investment. “By failing to tackle late payment we are starving our small businesses of the capacity to act. The recent huge escalation in outstanding payments shows that decades of promoting ‘culture change’ has only made things worse. “This Bill will tackle the issue once and for all with a package of measures that is operable, impactful and measurable.” Professor Rudi Klein, SEC Group’s CEO, said: “The construction industry is in the midst of an insolvency crisis with 2019 insolvencies likely to overtake by a wide margin the figure of 3,013 insolvencies in 2018. “The Government’s manifesto for the recent election made clear that it..
The government has launched a review of freelance tax rule changes due to come into force in April. Looming changes to IR35 rules are causing widespread concern in construction. HMRC rules are due to change from April 6 making contractors liable for determining the tax status of off-payroll professionals. Major contractors have been auditing freelancers employed via personal service companies as thousands of professionals are braced for a move back to PAYE. The government is now calling for evidence from affected individuals and businesses to ensure “smooth implementation of the reforms.” Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman said: “We recognise that concerns have been raised about the forthcoming reforms to the off-payroll working rules. “The purpose of this consultation is to make sure that the implementation of these changes in April is as smooth as possible.” Current rules allow workers to be employed via a personal service company (PSC) which determines whether IR35 tax rules should apply. That responsibility is due to shift from April to contractors who will determine employment status. Freelance workers fear they will lose out through higher tax payments while contractors will also face bigger bills from direct employment. The government is also reviewing its Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) online tool which has attracted widespread criticism.
Experienced plant operators will need to pass a ‘Competence Interview’ to keep their skills cards earned under Grandfather Rights. The new initiative means up to 50,000 operators will not have to sit formal qualifications to keep their Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) blue cards. Operators will have to pay up to £160 to undertake a competence interview – which is much lower than the cost of taking vocational qualifications. The interview initiative has been launched by training body NOCN who own the CPCS. It follows an industry-wide drive by the Construction Leadership Council to ensure all skills cards are backed-up by relevant qualifications by 2024 and carry the Construction Skills Certification Scheme logo. Graham Hasting-Evans, Managing Director of NOCN Group said: “The CLC’s objective is to drive industry improvement and its requirement that every blue cardholder must have a nationally recognised qualification to match the categories on their card at VQ Level 2 is behind this withdrawal of cards issued through Grandfather Rights. “As the leading Construction NVQ Awarding Organisation, we are able to quality assure this Competence Interview to the same level of as that expected of a Regulated Qualification, allowing operators to continue to work on-site with a renewal deadline of 2024.” Passing the Competence Interview will allow existing blue card holders to continue working on-site from 2025 without the need to either switch to a red ‘Trained Operator’..
CODE Co-Living has submitted plans for three building elements: one of 12 storeys, a second of 16 storeys, and the tallest reaching 36 storeys. At almost 117m tall, the main tower would be 16m taller than Sheffield’s current title holder and edge above a 114m tall student scheme currently under construction in Leeds – which is set to be the county’s tallest. The co-living development will provide 1,370 private studio flats for rent, available for both students and non-students. Substantial communal spaces are also incorporated, including dining and café facilities, a 50-piece gymnasium, cinema room, private study spaces and a large first floor south-facing outdoor roof terrace. The building will be operated on a build-to-rent basis, owned and operated by the developer. Nearly 140 flats will be affordable rent for non-students – more than the number of affordable homes delivered across the entire city last year. It will be located on a prominent site to the side of the Vita building, just off Charter Row and close to The Light Cinema complex. Jamie Lewis of CODE, said: “We have been looking for a site in Sheffield for several years. From the outside, it is clear that the city is going places with Heart of the City II and developments on The Moor transforming the city centre. We want to be a part of this.” He added: “We have worked hard..
Latest figures collected by the Joint Industry Board on behalf of trade body ECA and Unite the Union show the rate of RIDDOR-reportable accidents fell once again last year to 164 per 100,000 employees. No fatalities were reported during 2018 and the rate of major accidents was also lower than in 2017 at just over 52/100,000. The main causes of injury were falls, slips and trips and there was one reportable injury due to electric shock. Steve Brawley, Chief Executive of the JIB said: It's very encouraging to report that the rate of reportable accidents in our industry continues to fall, and it means that the rate of these accidents is now, remarkably, only slightly more than 10% of what it was in 2001, the year we started to collect data. The 2018 figures mean that the accident rate has fallen nearly 90% since 2001, which is a great achievement. In fact, the number of RIDDOR-reportable “ in a sample of over 13,500 operatives “ is now so low that in 2019 we will be asking companies for additional details of any â€˜over one day accidents. While these accidents are not RIDDOR-reportable, this will give us more data to work with in future.
Thousands of construction companies are facing a 20% drop in cash flow when VAT changes come into force in October. Government experts believe 150,000 firms could be hit by the reverse charge. The changes mean companies in the construction supply chain will no longer receive their 20% VAT payment when they submit bills, the VAT cash will instead be paid direct to HMRC by the customer receiving the service who will reclaim it in the normal way. One worried specialist with a Â£50m turnover told the reporters: We've estimated that for us as a tier two contractor this will have a negative impact on cash of £2.3m. If you are already running at the limit of lending and can't get more money from your bank and HMRC just plough on as they usually do you could be screwed. Tier twos are already net providers of free credit to Tier one contractors and now we won't be getting that VAT cash in from Tier ones. HMRC has introduced the change to combat missing trader fraud where companies charge and collect VAT payments then disappear owing the tax man. Payroll companies were braced to be hit hard by the changes but they have now been granted an exemption. HMRC said: Employment businesses who supply staff and who are responsible for paying the temporary workers they supply, are not subject to the reverse charge.
A revolving door of senior managers is being blamed for causing financial problems at major construction companies. Industry experts believe the merry-go-round of senior staff is often the root cause of contract problems. One senior figure told reporters: definitely a pattern we are seeing more and more of. You get these people who come in to roles like regional directors who then start chasing work to make their division look healthy to the main board. Experienced staff below them will have their reservations but no-one can really stop the new person in charge. The directors are often incentivised with bonuses for winning new work so the order books fill up with jobs which aren't purely focused on the bottom line. The nature of construction is that those schemes take years to work through and often by that time the directors have moved on to another company. They often leave behind a pile of problems but just walk into a new job. It's a bit like being a football manager. Once that's on your CV you always seem to get a new job no matter how poor your track record is. Obviously it's not the only issue causing problems in construction but it's a real factor and something which will continue to be a problem until a new generation of talent comes through. We've hired supposedly big names from major..
Officials from the Cabinet Office have written to firms to remind them of the new rules on prompt payment, which come into force this autumn. Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden, said: “Prompt payment is critical for all companies helping to deliver public services, particularly small businesses which are the backbone of our economy. “That’s why, from September, if government contractors are late with supplier payments, they could be prevented from winning public contracts until they clean up their act.” Under the new rules, suppliers who bid for government contracts above £5m per annum, who cannot show they are paying 95% of invoices within 60 days, risk being prevented from securing government contracts. The new measures follow further moves to level the playing field for small businesses, including an ambition to pay 90% of the government’s undisputed invoices from SMEs within five days. Suppliers that are not being paid on time are also able to raise complaints and concerns directly to the government through the Public Procurement Review Service.
House builders are being hampered by a shortage of construction materials including roof tiles, bricks and blocks. It has been reported that sites across the country are flagging-up shortages as an increasing problem. One industry source said: “Bricks and blocks are in short supply but the real problem is sourcing enough roof tiles. “Firms are having to look further afield to Europe for potential suppliers now because the domestic supply is stretched to the limit.” The issue was flagged-up by Taylor Wimpey in its results yesterday. The firm said: “Availability of materials is generally in line with demand but there remain pinch points with key products such as bricks, blocks and roof tiles. “The cost of these key products has risen significantly and whilst other material costs have been stable in 2017 we are experiencing more cost pressure coming into 2018. “The Group has agreed product lines and volumes with key suppliers to mitigate long lead times and shortages.” Persimmon also announced this week that it is building an in-house roof tile production plant which is expected to come on stream later this year. The UK’s largest house builder already has its own brick manufacturing plant. Persimmon said: “We recognise that with the continued increase in industry output the availability of skilled trade resources and some key materials to support further growth continues to be a constraint.”