General Election 2024: what has each party said about the self-employed?

28th June 2024
Written by Qdos Contractor

Exploring the promises being made to the UK’s 4.2m self-employed workers so far 

With the general election creeping ever closer, many independent workers will have made their minds up about how they will vote – others may still be unsure of what each of the political parties can offer them.

Now that manifestos have been launched – and subjected to serious scrutiny – we have collated the most relevant information from each manifesto, to give you a clearer idea of the pledges made across the political spectrum. 

Let’s dive in…

The Labour Party

Currently leading in the polls, the party that looks most likely to form the next government has promised to deliver the following: 

  • The introduction of a Single Enforcement Body to oversee compliance with employment legislation

  • Action against late payments to protect small businesses

  • Capping Corporation Tax at its current rate (25%) and keeping it under review to ensure competitiveness

The Conservative Party

The Conservatives are currently lagging in the polls. In a bid to win over the self-employed, the Tories have pledged to:

  • Cap Corporation Tax at its current until the end of the next parliament

  • Abolish the main rate of National Insurance for the self-employed

  • Clamp down on tax avoidance and non-compliance

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats were the first party to launch their manifesto. In it, they committed to the following measures:

  • Reviewing the off-payroll rules

  • Introducing a new employment and tax status – that of ‘dependent contractor’ – while also reviewing the existing tax status of the self-employed

  • Bringing an end to the Loan Charge scandal 

Reform UK

Some polling firms have indicated that Reform UK has overtaken the Conservatives. In its manifesto, it has pledged to:

  • Abolish the IR35 rules – though it is unclear whether this pledge refers to the off-payroll working rules or the legislation itself

  • Cut Corporation Tax from 25% to 20% and, eventually, down to 15% – while also increasing the minimum profits threshold to £100,000

  • Lift the VAT registration threshold to £120,000

Scottish National Party

With many tax and public spending decisions for Scotland made in Westminster, the SNP is pushing for the devolution of decision-making. In such an event, the party has promised to: 

  • Reform the VAT system, which may have some impact on Scottish sole traders and limited company contractors who currently pay VAT on income

  • Amend the definition of the ‘worker’ employment status, to “strengthen protections” for workers and “creating a single status of ‘worker’ for all but the genuinely self-employed”

Plaid Cymru

Similarly to Scotland, Wales does not have fully devolved decision-making authorities. Plaid Cymru is seeking greater autonomy. With the ability to make its own decisions, the party would: 

  • Create a fairer tax system, lobbying to “equalise capital gains tax with income tax” thresholds

  • Reform the Non-Domestic Rates system, the Welsh equivalent of Business Rates

A final thought…

As with every election, how this one plays out is anybody’s guess. 

How people vote will be a matter of personal preference – and not necessarily decided by the policies which stand out as being potentially beneficial for the self-employed. Some pledges may resonate in one respect, but other elements of their manifestos, or political personas, may hold greater sway.

While the opinion polls so far indicate that a Labour majority is the likeliest outcome, nothing is a foregone conclusion at this point. 

Whatever happens, Qdos – as an apolitical organisation – will continue to represent the best interests of the UK’s flexible workforce. 
Qdos Contractor
Written by
Qdos Contractor
Award-winning providers of insurance for the self-employed, Qdos are the leading authority on IR35, offering industry-leading employment status services to ensure the flexible working industry thrive. Qdos are the Best Contractor Insurance Provider 2022 and won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation 2022 and 2017. 

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