The construction industry has always attracted a high number of contractors, with the project-based nature of the business always appealing to those who like to be able to work flexibly to suit their lifestyles and enable them to have more control over when, where and for whom they work. In recognition of the large numbers of contractors who operate in this sector, the Association for Independent Professionals and the Self Employed has recently set up an advisory committee which is designed to help the thousands of independent professionals who are currently working in the construction industry.
Called the ‘Construction Advisory Committee’, this group is designed to develop research and policy which will provide contractors in the construction industry with a stronger voice. Because those in the sector are likely to face a range of additional challenges compared to the flexible workforce which operates in other sectors, the committee chair, David Jackson, is keen to ensure that their important contribution to the UK’s economy is recognised.
The committee will be formed by several industry experts, including academics, client companies and representatives from tax firm Deloitte, all of whom will contribute to the scrutiny of a number of different issues affecting contractors. They will then report back to IPSE in order to inform their activities on behalf of freelancers and contractors working in all industries and sectors.
The committee met for the first time this month with the main focus of their talks being the tax simplification legislation, the continuing problems caused by the skills shortage and the ever-present issues surrounding the way in which HM Revenue and Customs distinguishes between employment and self-employment.
Chris Bryce, the chief executive of IPSE, is pleased that the organisation is recognising the fact that construction industry contractors face a unique set of problems that can make their lives difficult in ways other workers may never come across. Finding affordable training opportunities, skills shortages, over-coming stereotypes about the whole industry and the added complication of having to operate within the Construction Industry Scheme can all make construction contracting a challenging career to pursue.
However, with 640,000 contractors working in the industry, representing 14 per cent of the UK’s freelance workforce and making a hugely important contribution to the UK’s economy, having a voice is increasingly important to those who operate in the sector.
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