Brown aims to fill gaps in IT market

‘We’re prepared to consider how to best help employers to meet their responsibilities to train their staff, including a new tax credit,’ Brown said.

Details of these measures will be announced next week. They form part of the chancellor’s goal of ‘full employment for Britain’ and will provide unskilled, unemployed people with the required training to fill job vacancies in ‘modern apprenticeships’.

Education and employment secretary David Blunkett has so far allocated Pounds 1bn for the purpose of skilling the unemployed since 1997, resulting in 220,000 people becoming employable and further initiatives are expected to provide a further 100,000 people with the necessary skills to obtain employment.

However, the chancellor did not make any announcements on the controversial stealth tax IR35. This news was greeted with disappointment by the Professional Contractors Group, who are currently preparing a legal challenge to the measure.

Gareth Williams, chairman of the PCG said the government has been universally condemned for introducing the ‘misconceived measure’ and added the Budget was the last opportunity ‘to right the wrong’.

‘This government has demonstrated clearly that it is no friend of small businesses or high technology. Next week, we will press ahead with our judicial review to show that not only is IR35 wrong for small businesses and the economy, but it is also illegal under European law,’ said Williams.

IR35 was announced in the 1999 Budget and came into affect in April 2000 as a measure to force contractors working through service companies to pay what it described as a ‘fair’ rate of tax.


Budget 2001 IR35 resource page

Related reading