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IR35 becomes a political hot potato

Opposition finally finds something to beat Labour with

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Having exhausted all other opportunities and still seeing Labour maintain its lead in the polls, the Conservatives and LibDems have started making noises about IR35.

The Tories have said for a while that they will "revisit" the legislation that causes large numbers of IT consultants to pay an extra lump of tax because they are labelled as employees. This, rather than being a standpoint, is purely logical seeing as a High Court judge recently condemned the implementation of the tax law.

The LibDems are equally floppy. Labour risks "stifling enterprise" said a spokesman. But nothing harsher than that.

And so Labour has simply made vague promises that it will ensure IR35 works properly and without undue hassle. Where can you go with that? That said, textiles e-minister Patricia Hewitt recently told Silicon.com that "the original proposals on IR35 were much too cumbersome and would have put too much burden on employers as well as contractors".

It's an admittance that the legislation was poor, but then hardly exciting following the judge's summary. What would be interesting is a turnaround by the government and/or Inland Revenue, or perhaps making an apology because it had stubbornly refused to listen to people's concerns.

Flying pigs would certainly liven up the election campaign. ®

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