Loan Charge protest to place seven coffins next to the chancellor

A “hard-hitting” protest featuring seven coffins to leave the chancellor in no doubt about the human cost of Loan Charge 2019 is calling ContractorUK readers to participate.

From 1230 today at London’s College Green, Westminster, contractors caught by the charge will march under a banner, illustrating the seven, that asks ‘How many more lives Sajid?’

The protesters will lay seven wreaths, but the fear is that more wreaths will soon be needed as ‘more lives being lost is the inevitable consequence’ of Mr Javid not scrapping the charge.

'Serious risk of further tragedies'

LCAG, which is behind today’s protest, also says: “[Our] hard-hitting protest…[will be] calling directly on the chancellor to suspend the charge and the 31st January declaration date.

“Rather than a vigil, [it’s a demo to leave Mr Javid] knowing that at least seven lives have been lost [to the charge] and knowing that there is a serious risk of further tragedies.”

To ensure the chancellor is in no doubt, LCAG’s Steve Packham wrote to Mr Javid on Monday warning: “We anticipate the suicide risk to become acute in [the] coming months.

“It is our opinion it would be grossly irresponsible not to postpone the Loan Charge deadline of 31st January 2020. Particularly so, if the review makes recommendations that will take significant time for parliament to consider”.

'Will Sir Amyas Morse report on December 19th?'

Following his appearance on Radio 4’s Money Box programme, in which he said the Loan Charge Review would conclude this year, the chancellor is also asked to commit to a date.

“[Do your comments mean] the full report will be published once parliament resumes and before the Christmas recess…[so] 19th December?” the Loan Charge Action Group asks.

The group’s letter further informs Mr Javid that its volunteers are providing “daily attention” to several very distressed HMRC customers, with many others under “medical supervision.”

“Bury the loan charge -- not people,” the banner will state, next to a picture of Mr Javid. It will also say, under the coffins: “Seven confirmed Loan Charge suicides…Please, No More.”

'Staggering, reckless, wilfully callous'

Inviting ContractorUK readers to join today’s demo, LCAG’s Steve Packham said it was “staggering” that despite Mr Javid knowing about the seven suicides (assuming he has read the APPG Loan Charge Review, which all seven were reported to), he has kept the charge in place.

“So we are taking the message to him and the Conservative-run Treasury to do the vital and moral thing and stop the Loan Charge,” Mr Packham began last night.

“You’d have thought that seven tragic suicides would be enough to pause a government policy but so far it seems not. So our message on behalf of bereaved families and thousands more facing ruin is, ‘How many more lives, Sajid, before you stop the Loan Charge?’

“Knowing as he does that more lives are at stake, to fail to now do this would be as reckless as wilfully callous. So we urge him to do the right thing and prevent more tragedies.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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