The Employment Review, headed by Matthew Taylor, is now in full swing and, since it was announced in late October, it has become clear that the government will be taking this review very seriously. Certainly, it has received strong national media coverage, particularly in light of recent employment status cases being decided in the courts.
The review has been given a broad scope, looking at the modern labour market and current working practices in the gig economy. Whilst not looking directly at tax, Matthew Taylor has made it clear that where he finds the exploitation of tax loopholes, he will highlight those areas, saying: “I think what should drive business is efficiency, productivity, innovation – not trying to avoid tax.”
In relation to the review, Business Minister Margot James added: “The Taylor review is a hugely important step towards us ensuring fairness for everyone in work. Helping us to understand what impact modern employment practices have on workers will inform our forthcoming industrial strategy and also help us ensure our labour market and wider economy works for everyone.”
In order to garner views from the business sector, Matthew Taylor has undertaken a series of seminars around the country in which he has laid out three key issues. Firstly, the protection of workers’ rights and the empowerment of people to be aware of their entitlements. Secondly, clarity regarding what perceived new forms of work are and mean – for example, zero hours contracts and some forms of agency work. The final issue will look at offering some real solutions to the serious questions on the incentives workers can access, such as pensions, maternity pay and mortgages. This is probably the most relevant to self-employment, of whom only 6% are presently saving for a pension, for example.
Overarching all of this, Matthew Taylor is keen that the report is a stepping-stone for the British economy to not only create a vast volume of jobs, but far more quality jobs. It is clear that Matthew Taylor is coming into this review with specific goals but also with a very sensible and moderate approach. He understands that there are two sides to all arguments, which leads us to believe that the tired old rhetoric of those who oppose self-employment time and time again will not be the leading voice in this review.
The Guild has already taken part in the seminars and will continue to work with our retained experts to look at ways of influencing the review and painting the positive picture for self-employment in construction.
If you have any thoughts or questions in the meantime, we would greatly welcome your opinions.