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Election 2024 – What’s in the manifestos for contractors?

As the 2024 election approaches, contractors are keenly examining political manifestos to understand what the future holds for their unique work style. With wall to wall coverage of the election in the media, it can be difficult to get to the points that really matter. 

Here we summarise the promises and policies outlined by the three major parties, focusing on how they plan to support, regulate, and empower the contingent workforce. From tax reforms and healthcare benefits to employment regulations and social security, we’ll break down each manifesto to see who truly champions the interests of UK contractors.

Conservative Party 

  • Pledging not to raise the rate of income tax or VAT.
  • A further 2p tax cut from employee National Insurance, meaning it will have halved from 12% at the beginning of this year to 6% by April 2027.
  • Abolishing Class 4 National Insurance for the self-employed over the course of the next parliament.
  • Tax cut for pensioners with the new Triple Lock Plus. This ensures that both the State Pension and the tax-free allowance for pensioners rises with either inflation, earnings or 2.5%, whichever is higher, so that the State Pension is not brought into income tax.
  • Assessing qualification for Child Benefit on a household basis rather than the current individual basis to ensure fairness.
  • Clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion including over 200 measures to tackle tax non-compliance.   

Labour Party 

  • Pledging not to raise National Insurance, the basic, higher or additional rates of income tax or VAT for “working people”.
  • Labour’s “New Deal for Working People” would include a single employment status of “worker” for “all but the genuinely self-employed”.
  • Giving the self-employed the right to a written contract along with health and safety and blacklisting protections. 
  • Ensure the minimum wage is a genuine living wage by changing the remit of the independent Low Pay Commission so it accounts for the cost of living and removing the age bands, so all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage.
  • Modernise HMRC and increase its capacity with a renewed focus on tax avoidance. 
  • Replace the Apprenticeships Levy with a more flexible Growth and Skills Levy. 

Liberal Democrat Party

  • Pledging to raise the tax-free personal allowance.
  • The Lib Dems promise to “end retrospective tax changes including the loan charge” and review the off payroll reforms to IR35.
  • Establish a new “dependent contractor” status with basic rights to minimum earnings, sick pay and holiday.
  • Review tax and National Insurance of all employment statuses to ensure fairness.
  • Review pensions for gig workers and protect transferability between roles. 
  • Making all parental pay and leave day-one employment rights and extending them to the self-employed.
  • Replace the Apprenticeships Levy with a broader skills and training levy. 
  • Create a new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority combining responsibilities currently spread across three agencies – including enforcing the minimum wage, tackling modern slavery and protecting agency workers.
  • Reforming the current Statutory Sick Pay System, including aligning the rate with NMW and paying SSP from the first day of absence rather than the fourth. 

Liquid Friday: Your partner amid political change

As we get closer to polling day, it’s clear that contractors have much at stake. Amidst the flurry of promises and policies, at Liquid Friday we stand ready to adapt to any new legislation or changes introduced post-July 4th (whichever party is in government!)

Our own pledge is to keep contractors informed, provide unwavering support and to advocate for the essential contingent workforce that drives the UK economy. No matter the political landscape, we’ll continue to champion the interests of contractors across all sectors. 

Don’t forget your ID to vote!

One last thing…don’t forget that for the first time at a general election, voters will need to show photographic ID to receive their ballot paper in polling stations. Acceptable forms of ID can be viewed here. Make your vote count!