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With the current HGV crisis, the IPSE is urging the government to look at not only post-Brexit regulations but the unintended consequences of the recent IR35 changes too.

Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said, “The changes to IR35 are the forgotten factor driving the HGV crisis. The IR35 changes have already had numerous unintended consequences from freelancers losing work left, right and centre, to many being forced into unregulated – and too often unscrupulous – umbrella companies. Now we can add fuel and food shortages to the list.

“IR35 is evidently not the only factor involved, but as research from the Road Haulage Association has shown, it is a key factor for more than half of drivers who are leaving the industry. This cannot be overlooked. But sadly, as with so much else to do with contractors and the self-employed, that is exactly what government is doing yet again: overlooking this vital sector.”

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Chamberlain added, “Another key issue is that the April IR35 changes failed to tackle the question of disguised employment. If it is the case that these drivers should be employed by the haulage firms, then the IR35 legislation does nothing to address this. Working ‘inside IR35’ leaves drivers with the worst of both worlds: paying the premium of employment taxes without receiving any of the rights or protections employment should offer.

“If government really wants to resolve the HGV crisis and get food and fuel flowing again, it must address the IR35 factor. We’ve been fighting the changes to IR35 for many years now – and continue to urge government to repeal them. At the very least, government must turn its attention to the mess left in the wake of IR35. This crisis is just one unintended consequence of the changes, and unless government clears the confusion after the changes, there may be more to come.”

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