Medium-Term Fiscal Plan 2022 may be delayed
Jeremy Hunt’s Medium-Term Fiscal Plan might be delayed because of the need to find a new prime minister.
The new chancellor’s statement is scheduled for Monday October 31st – but Liz Truss’s replacement as Tory party leader is due to be formally appointed as PM just two days earlier.
A spokesperson for Number 10 flagged up to the Financial Times that the near clash in the calendar might see Mr Hunt’s statement lose out.
“We are working in preparation for the 31st but obviously the decision with proceeding with that would be for the new prime minister,” the Number 10 spokesperson reportedly said.
'Playing politics with people's livelihoods'
Hunt has ruled himself out of the Tory party leadership contest and is understood to want to stay on as chancellor regardless of who becomes PM.
His chances of retaining the chancellorship look strongest in the event of a Rishi Sunak victory, partly given he backed Mr Sunak to succeed Boris Johnson.
But save for him using his (currently scheduled) Halloween statement to review IR35 – as was promised by outgoing prime minister Ms Truss when she was vying for Number 10, Mr Hunt’s chance of endorsement from the contractor recruitment industry looks slim.
One agent blasted of the chancellor’s move to cancel the cancellation of IR35 reform at Mini-Budget 2022: “It's outrageous. [Mr Hunt is] playing politics with people’s livelihoods.”
The row back of IR35 reform, which the government had said meant end-users would no longer need to decide IR35 status, is also playing havoc with arrangements put in place as a result.
“Lots of clients will be really frustrated by this”, a food and drinks recruiter posted. “And candidates too – [at least based on] discussions I've been having.”
Elsewhere online, a gif showing a massive outside area engulfed in flames was posted, with concerned onlookers in the foreground but jokingly, an agent captioned them, “UK recruiters.”
In the foreground and while everything behind ‘the agents’ is burning, a person who is enthusiastically swinging themselves back and forth on a playground swing is tagged, “Jeremy Hunt.”
'Trashed the technology sector'
“Why did you do this Mr Hunt?” an annoyed ContractorUK reader directly tweeted the chancellor, in the days following his U-turn on IR35 reform repeal.
“Your government has completely trashed the IT sector. [A] big contract that would have involved many people….and [provided] plenty of work was [just] cancelled. Can you guess why Mr Hunt?”
On LinkedIn, the Independent Health Professionals Association’s former general-secretary Dr Iain Campbell says the chancellor “backtracked” on Mini-Budget’s “one sensible measure”.
“Throwing out the baby with the bathwater and crushing the hopes of the legions of affected freelancers in the public and private sector forced into false employment without rights -- whose small businesses had been killed by the reforms…[is the new chancellor’s doing],” Dr Campbell wrote.
'Hunt's Medium-Term Fiscal Plan to hit high earners'
At his Medium-Term Fiscal Plan, the chancellor is being tipped by The Telegraph to raise £20billion of a still-£40bn deficit (even accounting for Mini-Budget's shredding) by raising taxes on “high earners.”
Insolvency expert Steven Mason reflected: “I will be interested to see what this government defines as ‘high-earners’ because the squeezed middle, as usual, are feeling a large share of the economic pain, so far.”
Roan Lavery, CEO of FreeAgent agrees that the bottom line of enterprising individuals needs shoring up at Medium-Term Fiscal Plan 2022, almost regardless of when Mr Hunt delivers it.
'Lot more that could be done to support contractors'
Also the accounting software giant’s co-founder, Mr Lavery told ContractorUK:
“Although some announcements in the Mini-Budget -- such as the changes to National Insurance and corporation tax -- have been positive for the SME sector, I think there’s a lot more that could be done to support small businesses, freelancers, and contractors struggling with the cost of living crisis.
“Small businesses still need clarity and reassurance over energy costs, and I would like to see the chancellor extending the emergency energy cap for businesses for two years, rather than six months, to bring it in line with the cap for households.
“Furthermore, I hope that the government will consider introducing additional financial assistance to help the UK’s smallest businesses deal with rising operational and supplier costs.”