IR35 ‘foolish’, says shadow IT minister

Across the world the IT and communications revolution is affecting almost every area of daily business life, and increasingly our daily personal life too. It is bringing new opportunities for international trade and prosperity, and for the way citizens interact with governments.

But politicians cannot take the credit for ecommerce: we did not invent the internet; we don’t make the jobs or take the risks. So a government’s approach must be about allowing ecommerce to flourish. That will require us to be ruthless about regulation, to roll back damaging taxes, and foster the development of a skilled workforce.

IR35 is one of the worst examples of a failure to understand how the new economy operates. Labour was foolish to embark on this change, which has led to confusion, ill will and damage to the new economy. The next Conservative government will repeal this unfair tax and replace it with targeted measures to address abuses.

On taking office, we will review the operation of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. We support the aim of this legislation, but are concerned about the financial cost to business of compliance, and the impact it may have on business confidence.

Britain needs to increase the number of talented executives working for new ventures and promoting commercially viable new business plans. Therefore, we will improve the tax regimes for entrepreneurs and employees using Employee Share Option Schemes.

It is not just private businesses that are hamstrung by too much government control. The new international economy will be a knowledge-based economy. That means getting the fundamentals of skills and education right as well.

Across the world, governments need to free up schools and universities to give them the flexibility to adapt to industry’s changing needs. By endowing our universities we will allow them to attract the best students and teachers, and build new centres of excellence in research and technological advance.

Our approach will be to remove barriers to growth and offer targeted incentives which will encourage the growth of an industrial sector which depends on free market flexibility, minimum regulation and an absence of clumsy government initiatives.

  • This article first appeared in Computing and on

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