SJD Accountancy
Voted Best Contractor Accountants Large. Now with FREE formation package.

Contractor Umbrella
Same day payments as standard. Free transfers between our Accountancy & Umbrella service. 

inniAccounts - Expert Accountants
Innovative software and an award-winning service. We make managing your accounts effortless.

Clever Accounts
Online software, unlimited support, dedicated accountants, only £79.50pm.

Contracting News

According to IT reunion site NamesFacesPlaces, RDL, in their half-year figures, have reported that there are signs that we have seen the worst of the cycle in December 2001 and January 2002, which they believe to have been the bottom of the downturn.

In what would appear to be another in a new round of contractor rate cuts for 2002 (Deutsche Bank contractors recently received a 10% cut), IT contractors at Barclays Bank have been told to accept a 20% rate cut, or have their contract terminated.

Earlier this week, the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) gave strong backing to the new drive to tackle red tape proposed in a report on employment regulation published by the Better Regulation Taskforce.

New measures aimed at tackling skills shortages in IT experienced by small businesses were announced last week by Margaret Hodge the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Higher Education.

The Professional Contractors Group campaign over the issuing of fast track visas is continuing to bear fruit. The contractor's Group has now demonstrated to the Government that there is no skill shortage in IT skills, C/C++ and Javascript and, as a result, these skills have been removed from the fast track visa list.

The Professional Contractors Group has handed more than 100 actual examples of Fast Track Visa abuse to the Home Office to demonstrate the system doesn't work and is affecting the contracting sector adversely.

Ruth Lea, Head of the Policy Unit at the IoD released a comment yesterday entitled: "Tax 'n' Spend is here to stay", following the recent Budget announcements. Although more of general interest than a 'contractor' story, the article points out the astonishing rise in the overall tax burden since 1997.

Gordon Brown's budget has received a frosty reception from most industry bodies, including the FSB and CBI. The Professional Contractors Group also expressed disappointment that the Chancellor's Budget failed to address the major concerns affecting small businesses and predicted that many would be unable to continue to operate in this climate of uncertainty.

Although most of us go contracting to gain greater freedom, try new things and make more money (when the market allows it), ZDNet has provided yet another reason to be grateful for our career choice.

The Sunday Times has published its latest Rich List, providing details of the biggest fortunes in the UK. The richest 1,000 have seen their combined wealth rise to its highest level since the survey began 14 years ago, although this year saw the smallest percentage year-on-year increase due to the economic turmoil and world security concerns over the past 12 months.

The CBI has attacked an EU directive on temporary agency workers, describing it as "unworkable for companies and for workers".

Kable, the publisher of 'Government Computing', has carried out a survey of Whitehall's IT managers and has discovered that their main concern is not a lack of funding, but a shortage of IT skills and personnel.

As European policy continues to make its mark on the UK, the European Commission has revealed its plans to solve the skills shortage in member states, particularly in IT.

In a very topical announcement, considering the PCG's current investigation into possible abuse of the 'Fast Track Visa' scheme, Home Office Minister, Angela Eagle recently revealed the total number of work permits approved under the shortage occupation category for information technology since 21 January 2000.

Business leaders have warned against planned EU proposals to provide equal rights to 'temporary' workers. These rights would include equal pay, pensions, annual holidays and insurance should the proposals go ahead.

During 2000 and much of 2001, 'CFT Group' advertised contractor insurance products, such as Professional Indemnity and Tax investigation insurance for IT contractors on the Internet, including on the Contractor UK site.

Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) need a period of minimum change to the tax regime for at least three years says accountants and business advisors PKF:

The Independent Contractors of Australia, which has been fighting successfully against anti-contractor tax legislation down under, has launched a new site to highlight and lobby against a range of issues which threaten the state of the Australian contracting industry

Following on from our earlier story on the Australian IT industry, there are growing concerns that Western governments are seeking to undermine domestic IT workers, while placating big business at the same time. Given the increases in U.S H1-B visa allocations and the introduction of the Fast Track Visa system in the UK to solve 'skills shortages', are such schemes being abused?

Employers are sending a "bumper pack" to Members of Parliament this New Year to demonstrate just how much red tape firms have to deal with.

ATSCo members are unanimous in proposing that personal service companies should be excluded from the proposed agency conduct regulations.

In late December, The Office of the e-Envoy published new guidelines for policy makers across government designed to ensure that new government policies are effective in the e-world.

The Australian IT industry, already suffering from the technology slowdown, is up in arms over the publication of a government report which urges companies to outsource work to India in order to save money.

ICL, the IT solutions giant, has announced plans to cut its workforce by 1,500. ICL blames the cuts on disappointing business results against the backdrop of adverse market conditions affecting the IT industry, as a whole.

Following the Chancellor's speech on Tuesday, The Inland Revenue has published a report entitled 'Boosting Investment and Growth for Small Businesses', which forms part of the Pre-Budget Report.

'Freelance Informer', the magazine for the IT contracting industry, published its final issue this weekend. FI was sent out to over 20,000 subscribers every fortnight for over fifteen years and was a key source of quality editorial and the latest news.

The National Computing Centre (NCC) has released results of its latest annual survey, based on the responses of 490 participating companies. In addition to salary levels and market predictions / trends, the survey shows that demand for IT contractors may have contracted to levels last seen in the early 1990's.

At their site launch, Gerry McLaughlin, founder of NamesFacesPlaces, the reunion site for contractors, stated that the slump in the market for contractors was close to its bottom.

BT Retail CEO, Pierre Danon, has announced a massive shake-up of British Telecom's cost structure over the next few years. Although some savings have already been made in infastructure savings, the telecoms giant is planning to shed 19% of its workforce by March 2003, which will include some IT contractor staff.

Douglas Alexander, the E-Commerce minister, has announced that the UK is to relax visa restrictions for Indian technology specialists who wish to work in Britain.

Following investigations by the City of London Police and Lloyd's of London, Lloyd's is issuing a warning to all persons and companies holding insurance policies issued by CFT Group Insurance Services (CFT), which is believed to have ceased trading.

Following claims on various recruitment industry forums, Jobserve has defended its decision to censor adverts that insist on candidates holding valid EU work permits.

Angela Eagle, MP, has revealed a large increase in the number of overseas workers who have come to the UK via the Government's 'fast track visa' programme over the last 12 months.

The Professional Contractors Group has updated its draft contracts to included the latest guidance and case law for contractors to demonstrate they are outside the IR35 restrictions.

In line with its carefully planned expansion programme SJD will be opening a new office in Bristol city centre on Monday, 22 October, 2001. SJD (South-West) will be headed up by Peter Morris BA ACA, an experienced accountant with extensive knowledge of the particular requirements of IT Contractors.

Embarcadero has created the world's first IT 'Lifestyle' Census to understand what makes IT people tick.

We received an email recently from a visitor who is contracting for IBM. The email demonstrates the methods some agencies are using to inform contractors of rate cuts. The email also raises the suggestion that more clients could hire contractors directly rather than paying commissions to their preferred suppliers.

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt has outlined details of a Government plan to find the next generation of "IT" girls - but the focus will be firmly on micro-chips not micro-skirts.

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.

Sign up to our Weekly Newsletter

Keep up to date with everything in the world of contracting.