Articles - 29th April 2020

Will the self-employed have access to emergency cash payments early?

Words by The UP team

Self-employed could get emergency cash payments before June, (The Telegraph)

The self-employed could be handed emergency cash payments sooner than first expected following the smooth launch of a taxpayer-funded furlough scheme.

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor has vowed to support contractors with a scheme that will pay 80pc of their profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Freelancers were shocked after he said this help would not arrive until the beginning of June, much later than a similar package to protect the wages of furloughed workers which will make its first payments this week.

But early signs of success on the furlough scheme means Mr Sunak may now get help to self-employed workers quicker than first thought. 

Grants for the self-employed will be calculated using their average profit over the last three years.

 

IR35 Tax law reform ‘will create zero-rights staff’ according to House of Lords, (The Times

Peers are warning that new tax avoidance measures are “riddled with problems” and that the rules should be completely overhauled. 

Reforms to legislation governing the use of contractors were meant to be introduced this month, but were postponed for a year by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A House of Lords committee is calling on the government to use the delay to revamp the rules, which are known as IR35. The measures are aimed at cracking down on “disguised employment”, involving contract workers providing freelance services, usually through their own limited company, when HM Revenue & Customs believes that they should be treated as full-time employees. 

The sub-committee says in its report that it shares concerns voiced by witnesses that the rules place too great a burden on businesses.The peers say that the government should push ahead with recommendations made by the Taylor Review, which said three years ago that labour taxation should be “more consistent across employment forms, while at the same time improving the rights and entitlements of self-employed people”

A spokesman for the Treasury said: “It is right to ensure that two individuals doing the same work for the same employer pay the same tax and national insurance contributions.”

 

Union uproar as gig economy workers slapped with hefty fines for couriering in York City centre (Taxi Point News)

The Independent Workers Great Britain (IWGB) union, representing couriers in York have slammed York Police for issuing fines to gig economy workers who have attempted to deliver food, groceries and prescriptions within the centre of York’s pedestrianised area during lockdown.

The outrage comes as a video released on social media showed a Deliveroo bike courier being stopped and searched by two officers.

The stance by the police to issue fines comes as measures were put in place prior to the coronavirus pandemic to crack down on reckless drivers, by prohibiting access to the city centre; action supported by the IWGB.

 

 Coronavirus: Influencers’ glossy lifestyles lose their shine, (BBC News)

The economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are far-reaching, and advertising and marketing budgets are among the first things businesses are cutting back on as they try to survive.

That spells trouble for the media industry at large, all the way from the biggest of the newspaper brands down to the one-person-band social media creators.

And in the case of “influencers” not only is sponsorship evaporating, but also their ability to generate content as brands stop providing products to try out and ditch plans for press trips.

The Lifestyle Agency specialises in luxury lifestyle PR and affiliate marketing through links on blogs and social media. It says influencers were first to lose out on campaigns.

But with engagement on Facebook up 40% and downloads of TikTok reaching record numbers, there is a captive audience to target.

 

Coronavirus: Creative Industries Federation launches major campaign for urgent government funding, (The Stage)

Organisations spanning the creative industries are coming together to call for urgent government support during the coronavirus crisis, as part of a major new campaign to raise awareness of the sector’s importance.

The #OurWorldWithout campaign has been set up by the Creative Industries Federation, whose members include organisations and individuals working in theatre, music, visual arts, film and design.

It is asking the government for urgent funding for the creative industries to help its businesses and professionals during the pandemic.

According to the federation, with theatres and venues closed and major events and projects cancelled, more than half of people and organisations working in creative fields have seen a 100% drop in income.

 

UK could lose half of its creative businesses, say key cultural figures in open letter, (The Art Newspaper)

More than 400 cultural figures have signed an open letter urging the UK government to step in and save the country’s creative industries in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. 

The Tate director Maria Balshaw, artist Jeremy Deller and Design Museum director Tim Marlow are among those who have backed a call by the advocacy organisation Creative Industries Federation (CIF) for urgent funding; otherwise, the UK could lose half of its creative businesses and become a “cultural wasteland”, the letter says.

In a CIF survey of 2,000 creative organisations and freelancers, one in seven respondents said they can only last until the end of April on existing financial reserves, while only half think their reserves will last beyond June.

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