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Contracting News

According to a revealing report in yesterday's Sunday Times, Inland Revenue staff have been sending out tax demands which they know to be wrong, and which are costing taxpayers a small fortune in the process. This information is believed to have come from internal leaks, which hitherto have been shrouded in a culture of secrecy and risks of disciplinary action for 'speaking out'.

Deutsche Bank are the latest to declare an across-the-board 10% rate cut for all IT contracting staff. In what has become a summer of rate cuts, Deutsche Bank join the list which now includes Hewlett Packard, Citigroup, Ericsson and Credit Suisse First Boston.

It's certainly been an eventful year in the IT Market. IR35 has become more and more of a going concern for many contractors, combined with the downsizing in the IT contracting market. But is there really anything to be too concerned about? I personally think the market is changing for the better. Let's look at the issues of IR35 and reducing demands for contractors and the effects it could have.

In its Annual Report for 2001, the Adjudicators Office highlights that there was a 4% increase in the number of complaints either wholly or partly upheld against the Inland Revenue. "The complaints we see highlight issues that in some way leave a taxpayer feeling dissatisfied." states the report.

The market in Asia Pacific IT services is growing at a phenomenal rate and it is expected to continue to grow at 25% compound annual growth rate till 2004. Companies in India offer high quality services at a low cost which is very attractive to big business.

The Labour Party launched its Small Business Strategy on the 15th May 2001. The goal is " make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business and to create an environment where Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME's) are the centre-piece of an increasingly vibrant and successful British economy."

The Sunday Times Rich List 2001 has been compiled, and shows a dramatic reversal of fortune for many technology stars of the past few years, and also highlights the extraordinary wealth generated from recruitment services!

Responding to a parliamentary question from Sir Patrick Cormack on Monday, the government has revealed how many foreign IT specialists were granted work permits during 2000.

We received an email from one of our visitors which suggests that the recently announced 'fast track' visa policy is already paying dividends for this Government.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is challenging the Government to clarify the status of the self employed by publishing its own 'White Paper' setting out proposals for a guarantee of rights for the sector.

The Sunday Times has published its latest Fast Track 100 survey. The list contains a large number of recruitment related entries, led by Dataworkforce, a telecoms agency which has seen sales increase from £0.3m to £20m between 1996 and 1999.

As part of the Government's drive to solve to skills shortage problem in the UK, the E-Commerce Minister, Patricia Hewitt, spent last week in India publicising the new "fast-track" permit scheme.

An article in Monday's 'Daily Mail' has caused a stir within the contracting industry. The article 'firms fear plan to boost rights of the self-employed' by Darren Behar reveals new government proposals to give 'contract workers' stronger legal rights.

Following a recent poll by news provider in which it was revealled that two thirds of all IT people surveyed worried about getting work after the age of 45, the government has conceded that legislation may be required to tackle age discrimination in the IT industry.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants have issued a press release detailing the dramatic rise in the costs of 'red tape' to small businesses in the UK.

The U.S Senate has passed legislation to issue 600,000 visas for skilled foreigners who temporarily fill specialised U.S jobs, largely in the high-technology industry. The legislation is certain to receive Presidential approval shortly. The bill was approved by the Senate by an overwheming 96-1 majority.

Over half our visitors charge at least £40 per hour (26% charge £50 or more per hour). The average commission charged (where known) is approximately 15%.

Following on from the recent announcement of a pilot scheme to attact overseas 'entrepreneurs'. Barbara Roche yesterday called for an honest debate on the benefits of 'managed migration' to help address the nation's growing skills gap.

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