Labour wins General Election 2024, prompting ‘congratulations’ and IR35 appeals

Sir Kier Starmer has announced “change begins now” after Labour won General Election 2024. 

After exceeding the 326 seats needed for a House of Commons majority, Sir Keir said his party was “ready to restore Britain to the service of working people.”

Labour won around 35% of the vote, the lowest majority on record and down from the 44% share projected by YouGov.

But the party winning more than 400 seats still represents a landslide victory for Sir Kier, who will today be installed as Britain’s 58th Prime Minister. 

Congratulations

Tania Bowers, a director at APSCo this morning told ContractorUK: “First and foremost myself and APSCo would like to congratulate the new Labour Government on its landslide election win. 

“The professional staffing sector and a forward-thinking flexible labour market is critical to its plans for growth and APSCo will continue to be the voice to all parties articulating the difference between expert independent working and the broader agency market.”

'We did it'

In contrast to a hollow-sounding Rishi Sunak, who this morning said the defeat for his Tories was “sobering,” Sir Keir gushed, “We did it.”

His party also unseated Liz Truss who as Britain’s shortest serving PM pledged to repeal IR35 reform.

Truss lost her seat to Labour alongside other big-name Tories who suffered the same fate, like Grant Schapps and Jacob Rees-Mogg. 

Failure to deliver

A former cabinet minister, Rees-Mogg said before 14 years of Conservative rule officially came to an end this morning that the party had ‘taken its core voters for granted.’

He also warned, before he lost his seat, that under Rishi Sunak, there was a ‘failure to deliver on Conservative principles.’

Benefiting as a result, Reform UK had a great election night, as its leader Nigel Farage has become one of five MPs in the new parliament. 

Abolish IR35

Under Richard Tice, the party’s previous chair, Reform UK pledged to “abolish IR35 to benefit sole traders.”

Mr Farage repeated the pledge to axe IR35 in Reform UK’s 2024 election manifesto, but such decisions will now fall to the UK’s new and first ever female chancellor Rachel Reeves MP.

An IR35 contract review firm, Qdos, hopes Reeves last night criticising a 70-year high in taxation (before she went onto to win Leeds West and Pudsey) bodes well for the contractor workforce.

An IR35 review by Labour is crucial

The review firm says: “The off-payroll working rules have seen businesses become needlessly risk-averse in engaging contractors.

“The result is that genuinely self-employed contractors are being forced into what’s known as ‘zero-rights employment.’”

The firm’s CEO Seb Maley added: “Reviewing the rules and addressing the flaws of both IR35 and the off-payroll working rules is crucial.”

No reassurances from MP

A contractor accountancy firm, Chart Accountancy, last night said that, “sadly,” it is still seeing “large corporate entities” reject contractors because of inside IR35 assessments. 

“Despite notifying my local MP last year,” says the firm’s owner Teodora Dimitrova, “I received no reassurances that the government might actually take interest in the lost business opportunities.”

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, is also hoping a new government signals a new approach - for contractors and other atypical workers.

No one best way of working

Carberry says: “With a decisive mandate in hand, this new government has goodwill from businesses and support for its core goal – getting growth and prosperity flowing across the UK.

“Only business can deliver this – so a strong partnership is necessary.

“There is no doubt that Labour cares about the workforce – but what matters now is how they deliver. 

“The labour market has changed over the past few decades – of course workers need to be treated well, but that includes choice and opportunity on how and when they work. 

“Workers and businesses across the country understand the goals of Labour’s plan but its implementation must support a growing economy and accept that there is no one best way of working. That is not what people want.”

Tax avoidance in self-employed sector

Earlier this week, at the annual conference of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association, a former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said a Labour landslide should be less concerning to the temporary workforce than an election result on July 5th which allows Reform UK to influence the political agenda.

Tax lawyer Rebecca Seeley Harris, who attended the FCSA conference, says: “For Labour it’s easier to tackle tax avoidance than it is to raise taxes but, pursuing tax avoidance in the self-employed sector is a risky strategy.”

Single worker status

A contractor, James Brown reflected: “Hopefully Labour’s plan for a ‘Single Worker Status’ will fix this.

“If you are an employee for tax purposes then you should be entitled to all the rights,  benefits and legal protections of being an employee.”

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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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