With another general election in the next 18 months, we wanted to find out where contractors stand at the moment and how the events of the past few years have impacted how contractors vote.
We recently asked contractors via a LinkedIn poll which political party they would vote for if an election were called tomorrow.
After 313 responses to the poll, the Labour Party won the vote by some distance, with 41%.
The option for Conservatives came at the very bottom of the list, so significantly that more people (22%) would choose not to vote at all than vote Conservative (15%).
But this isn’t entirely surprising. In the Qdos annual survey taken last November, 25.7% of contractors indicated that they would vote for Labour and just 14.3% would vote Conservative in a snap election, whilst 18.7% would have abstained from voting altogether.
This also seems to be mirrored in the general sentiment of the nation. As a result of the local elections held in May this year, “Labour became the largest party in local government in Great Britain” with the Conservatives losing 1,063 seats and “for the first time in recent history, councils are more likely to have ‘no overall control’ than be controlled by a political party.”
The LinkedIn poll received a lot of comments and many of them made for interesting reading. Perhaps unsurprisingly, IR35 was mentioned a number of times.
The original IR35 rules were introduced by the Labour government 23 years ago, but it has been the Conservatives who have implemented the more recent reforms to the legislation which have arguably had a far more severe impact on contractors and the flexible economy as a whole.
There's no direct suggestion that Labour will look to unpick what has happened with the IR35 rules. But the general feeling seems to be that things are only likely to get worse under a Tory government.
Some have suggested that they would actively vote for a party that scrapped the IR35 reforms, a possibility that dangled in front of the contracting community for a few weeks after the famous Liz Truss budget. Just last week, Truss once again reiterated that IR35 reform needs to be reviewed.
Having seen the strength of reaction to IR35 reform, it would be of little surprise if IR35 was picked up as a political football as we get closer to election time.
Ultimately, it seems that many contractors and freelancers are not necessarily looking for dramatic or performative action from a government, but simply want a party who is understanding, supportive, and appreciative of the value of flexible work.
Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, commented:
“In my view, it is entirely understandable that flexible workers across various sectors feel like they have been marginalised and attacked over recent years.
But their collective votes will carry a lot of weight and it's time that the current government paid attention to that.”
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