Liz Truss: How Our New Prime Minister Might Impact IT Recruitment

IT recruitment

After a prolonged leadership contest, Liz Truss is the new UK Prime Minister. Although the early days of Truss’ leadership will inevitably be dominated by the issues surrounding rising energy costs and inflation, there are a number of potential policy changes impacting HR/employment and the tech industry that Truss has spoken about pushing forward. In this blog, I explore how Liz Truss’ appointment to Prime Minster could affect IT recruitment.

The impact on IT recruitment: Tax

The Chancellor previously announced that UK corporation tax rate will rise from 1st April 2023. The rate will increase to 25% for companies that exceed taxable profits of £250K, whilst the current 19% rate will still apply for companies with profits of less than £50K.

Liz Truss has said that she plans to cancel this increase in corporation tax, previously discussing how: “Last time we cut corporation tax we saw the revenues increase.”

Truss’ position is based on the idea that keeping taxes lower will increase economic growth, which in turn, will increase the amount of money the government receives, even though the rate is lower.

National Insurance is expected to return to what it was pre-Covid, which in turn, will abolish the need for employers/payroll providers to list National Insurance and the NHS increase separately. This move will mean that PAYE employees’ take-home will not be negatively impacted.

This news has been positively received by IT professionals and businesses. With increased salaries for IT professionals above UK averages, utility costs increasing x4 with no commercial caps, and pending economic challenges ahead, a hike in corporation tax could have wiped out remaining profits for many companies and led to redundancies.

IR35

Truss made waves in the IT contracting community earlier this summer when she announced her intention to review IR35 legislation if her bid for leadership was successful.

IR35 legislation was reformed in April 2021, however, IT contractors and businesses continue to voice their frustrations over its confusing rules. Users want clarification over certain legal terms, such as ‘mutuality of obligation’, in addition to certainty of legal status – something many believe HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool isn’t currently delivering.

A House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report published in May, reported that public bodies owed approximately £236 million to HMRC due to “incorrect administration” under the latest IR35 rules.

In August, Truss told the Sun: “The changes that have been made to IR35 are all about trying to treat the self-employed the same as big business. But the fact is, if you’re self-employed, you don’t get the same benefits as being in a big company. You don’t get paid holidays, you didn’t get those benefits. So the tax system should reflect that more.”

Truss’ win has been welcomed by the contracting community, however, the majority remain sceptical. In fact, a poll of more than 470 IT contractors by Contractor UK found that 94% of limited company workers think that Truss’ pledge to review off-payroll rules is an “empty promise”.

Access to talent

Liz Truss has previously stated that she believes the UK economy must have easy access to the skills it needs and rejected calls for a cap on skilled worker immigration levels. It’s likely she will press forward with the new visa routes launched by Boris Johnson’s government, with aspirations for them to have a positive impact on the tech industry.

Other HR and employment law changes Truss has spoken about driving forward:

  • The introduction of a new law for minimum service/staffing levels on critical national infrastructure during strikes
  • The reduction of civil service staff holiday leave from 27 to 25 days
  • The removal of the right to paid leave in order to take part in trade union activities
  • The removal of standalone diversity & inclusion roles in the NHS

 

VIQU is an IT recruitment agency based in Birmingham and Southampton. If you are looking for a new IT job, or you require assistance with your IT recruitment strategy, please get in touch.

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