back to article Labour isn't working for IT contractors

Outraged contractors have slammed Labour’s policies on freelance work in the UK and claimed that the government’s stance threatens their livelihoods. A new survey from ContractorCalculator revealed the somewhat unsurprising findings that 88 per cent of freelancers, of which a large portion work in the lucrative IT sector, were …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Barclays Capital weren't "forced" to do anything. If I felt "forced" to demand a 10% rise from a client two days before a major system implementation, that would be seen as greedy and unethical, and I would most likely not be renewed in future.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    more crunch than credit

    There's a knock on effect in pretty much everything right now. Compare the contract job market today with this time last year and one thing you notice (espeically in the north of england) is a severe lack of projects going on.

    there's a few for helpdesks, and .net developers are in demand (as always) but 2nd line support, network administrators, project leaders all seem to be a bit barren. I've had to fall back on some support work while waiting fo the market to pick up, and it's getting cut throat up here right now. For each job, between 50 to 100 applications are being recieved according to one of my agency contacts.

    Place I'm currently working at has had to postpone 2 large projects until next year due to budget restrictions. Mostly to do with the mounting fuel costs they now have to falk out to ship their product to customers.

    One of the full time workers in the IT department is contemplating giving up his job because he can't afford to travel into work every day.

    I personally have had to accept an hourly lower than I usually charge due to the fact that there's nothing out there right now and whatever I turn down, there'll be plenty to accept in my place.

    The vulture for sucking the life blood out of our industry

  3. Stuart Cherrington
    Paris Hilton


    THey could also do with raising the 40p/mile claim we can make on fuel costs, it been 40p/mile for years (10?) and I'm pretty sure fuel has fone up since then!

    Paris - Because!

  4. John Mangan

    No surprise there, then.

    This is spot on. I recently abandoned contracting for just this reason. The credit crunch had no bearing on my decision at all. Labour have made it impossible to cover the risks inherent in contracting through their short-sighted and incompetent policies. I could no longer justify taking those risks with my family in mind.

    There has long been a perception that contractors are coining it compared to permanent staff but this perception usually lies with those who have never tried to run their own business. I would expect a government to have a slightly clearer and more complete picture of the situation.

    The icon? Labour are going to get badly burned at the next election.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    News just in... another group upset with the incompetence of the present Labour Government.

    The UK voted the Tories out because they were all f*cking their secretaries. The UK will hopefully vote the present Labour government out because they are all f*cking the country.

  6. Em
    Thumb Down

    No surprise

    Labour want everyone to be 'employed' or a super-exec. They don't want such a thing as a one-man-band with his Limited company.

    Its all a load of rubbish, if someone isn't getting fully employee benefits then they are not employees. They're paid more for the added risk of being on next to no notice and the time involved in finding new contracts during which time they earn nothing.

    Somehow Nu Labia believe these people should be taxed like everyone else even though they don't get the same benefits like everyone else.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    16% Flat Tax

    Bring on the flat tax rate, Romania's Flat tax rate is 16% (everyone pays 16% of their gross earnings). It has led to significant loss of jobs in the accounting industry, but otherwise has been beneficial. They can use more of their money, and hold less in reserve against taxes because they know at any particular time how much tax is owed. The opportunity to fiddle the expenses side is removed, the gross can be checked by simple examination of bank statements, so less evasion. It proved to be very popular.

    In a progressive tax system, you don't know how much you'll earn in the year, so you don't know your tax band, so you don't know how much tax you owe so far. So you tie up enough money for the worst case. IR35 simply made this problem much bigger.

    You can be complacent now, it's only a few east European countries that have flat rates, but if Merkel got her way Germany would have had flat rate taxes. The countries that have switched to flat rates, don't switch back and more and more are doing it.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Too late for me...

    I've already lost my job due to New Lbour's new rules supposed to "protect" me.

    The day the new "three months" rules came into effect, between my leaving work at 5.30 and getting home at 6.00, the client called the agency and said they did not want me back onsite the following day.

    I was TWO DAYS short of the three months.

    Thanks for nothing, Mr Brown.

  9. dervheid

    Not just IT...

    Without 'freelance' contractors, most engineering industries would just collapse.

    Uncle Gordon has been hell-bent on making working as a freelancer so bloody hard, not just IR35, but the recent MSC changes as well. We must have the most convoluted tax system in the western world. Every time they identify a 'loophole' created by all the complexities, rather then try and simplify the loophole out of existence, they make thing even more bloody complicated.

    Let's not even get onto the subject of the Child Tax Credits system. I'm STILL taking medication for the stress around that one <twitch,twitch>.

    I'm not sure the Tories will reverse things either.

    And they wonder why there's a shortage of people in engineering disciplines in this country?

  10. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Labour isn't the only thing not working....

    "Just last month Barclays Capital was forced to tell its IT contractors to choose between a 10 per cent pay cut and a quick exit from the company. That decision was seen as an alternative to cutting jobs as the bank negotiates the looming financial crisis."

    That must be about the dumbest thing that a bank can do, given what an IT contractor can do to a bank, but then again whenever the banks so easily fall for all manner of dodgy dealings from which they can extract their whack, one cannot expect Intelligence to be present in the Board Room. And given the fact that they are proving only well enough equipped to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic, with everyone watching the Musical Chairs spectacle, it doesn't bode well for them for it reveals collusion and conspiracy and incestuous practices to pervert the natural course of events.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Late in 2010 . . .

    Paraphrasing the late, great Douglas Adams:

    'So why did we lose the election, I'm sure there was good reason?"

    "You're a bunch of useless, bloody morons!!"

    "Oh yes! That was it. Oh well, just got time for another bath."

  12. Mark York

    Not alone in that.

    "One of the full time workers in the IT department is contemplating giving up his job because he can't afford to travel into work every day."

    I am thinking of taking 6 months gardening leave myself, as I don't get mileage to site anymore & the cost of fuel has gone up making my current contract untenable.

    Master Kantractor: Quickly as you can, snatch the wages from my hand.

    Young C(h)aincellor tries to do so and fails

    Master Kantractor: When you can take the wages from my hand, it will be time for me to leave.

    With apologies to Kung Fu, I'll get me Shaolin monks robes.

  13. Nomen Publicus


    Is it just me, or does the government seem intent in annoying everybody in the UK on an individual basis?

    It's almost as if they WANT to lose elections.

  14. Dr Who
    Dead Vulture

    What would the others do?

    A comment from the Tories would have made this story more worthwhile. Finding out what, if anything, they would do to improve things would be genuine and useful news. As it stands this story is merely reinforcing what we all know. Vulture for stating the bleedin' obvious.

  15. william

    MPS Should be given a lump sum into a limited Comapny

    If MP's where had to run their affairs through a limited company and be audited in the same way as us contractors we would not have the tax or Paper Work issues, because MP's would abolish them.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    I concur

    With the disgruntled contractors.

    In the last couple of years things have become mental on the accounting side of things, to the degree that on the wages I am on, it's just not worth bothering with it given the complication and complete lack of any kind of rights as a member of staff - you are expected to behave exactly like every other permanent staffer, but with none of the perks, like, say, any kind of job security.

    However, much as though I try to find permy work, no-one wants permy IT staff at my level [desktop/network support]. You contract, or you die in my field, basically.

    I got the 'don't turn up tomorrow' thing back in February for a job I was doing [and i still haven't been told why] and the market is so piss poor right now that it took me a month to find another contract - and I do desktop/network support and rollouts, the bread and butter of IT contracting.

    At this rate I'd be better off in terms of stress and finances just fucking off the whole IT thing and retraining as a plumber - at least then I could operate as a sole trader, not have reams of paperwork to deal with [with no guarantee that HMRC won't come knocking in five years time after changing the rules again demanding large wads of cash], and make an hourly rate that would actually pay the bills from month to month...which the current work really isn't.

    Anon as my employers read this...

  17. Alistair
    Paris Hilton

    NI = Tax on employment

    The easy way to fix the tilted job market would have been to abolish the National Insurance, which is nothing more than a tax on regular employment (obviously other tax rates would have to be raised to compensate).

    But a Labour gov. would and could never do that.

    Paris because she loves hourly rates.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are all criminals!!!!

    I'm a contractor and have been for about 12 years now. During that relatively short time, I have seen the tax system get increasingly complex and the time and effort involved in being an unpaid tax collector has got larger and larger.

    This government (ie - Labour) is hell-bent on screwing as much money out of us (and industry in general) as it can. They basically assumes that we're all crooks too and are on the fiddle. And if you manage to convince HMRC that you're not fiddling anything, they just make up some new rules so that they can take all your money anyway!

    It is becoming a ludicrously difficult (indeed impossible) job just to stay afloat in the contracting world. The rules change all the time, so you change how you work to fit the new rules, HMRC realise that you're not bankrupt yet, so they change the rules again in the hope that they manage next time round!

    If I wasn't so broke (ooooo... I wonder how that happened?!), I'd leave this bloody country for good.

  19. James Townsend
    IT Angle

    @ A.C. "Too late for me...."

    What is the 3 month rule that you mention in you post A.C.?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jobs for the boys

    Of course all you winging contractors forget that if it wasn't for the huge number of inefficient nuLab government screwup IT projects out there the sector would have collapsed a long time ago, and there'd be fewer projects and far lower rates.

    Lots of us permies get no more benefits than sick days and paid holiday. Quit whining.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Oh stop moaning ....

    All you contractors out there. You are paid more than permies to cover the risk that you are unemployed for a brief period of time and if you are any good, it will only be a brief period of time (if you are not any good, then get out of contracting !)

    As for all the risk, and talk of being small business people, having been a corporate drone, a contractor and also having had my own small business, I can tell you that there is no comparason. People who start their own small business put their capital (and often their house) on the line to start the business, they don't just don't just hop from their permanent post to a contract and then moan because it takes a little while before the cash rolls in. They take real risks, usually with a view to building a business that will employ other people, and so deserve the support of government.

  22. Andy

    Well duh!

    They passed legislation (IR35) that says you have to rewrite a perfectly good contract so that there is a possibility of making a loss and you can't claim expenses in order to not be an employee of the customer. Who the heck is going to vote for someone that stupid to run a country.

    Actually, I take that back. It's the only way this government could deliver an IT project on budget. Also, most politicians are lawyers. They are just lining up business (rewriting perfectly good contracts) for when they get thrown out.

  23. nick

    IT staff not voting Labour?

    Well theres a surprise. Throughout my working life, I've met precisely two other Labour voters.

    Even in 1997 hardly anyone I worked with thought that John Major should have been turfed out

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Flat tax?

    >Bring on the flat tax rate

    Oh dear gods, no. Please spend a little time with a calculator before posting stupid comments like that. To match the current personal tax burden (which is now nearly as high as it was under Thatcher), you will need a flat tax rate of probably 40% or more.

    Yes, you'll get more out of contractors (breifly), but 40% on the poorest (i.e. those working on a low wage, but not on benefits) simply is not fair. It'll also drive a significant proportion of the middle income down into poverty, and drive out most of your contractor base (all the ones here are looking to either emigrate, go permanent in a different field or retire), and as the UK has a service based economy primarily driven by the middle-income people, contractors and the self-employed, you'd rapidly destroy what economic foundation you have left.

    On the other hand, the core of the argument is spot on - if you simplify the tax system, you can make a huge amount of savings (less tax men, less fraud, less stress). The simplest thing to do as a start - personal allowance is pegged at (say) 3/4 of last years "average income" and abolish NI and CGT, merging them with income tax, which retains some form of banding as it does now. Allow self-employed companies to retain "loss of employment" funds, untaxed, in the company so that they can continue to pay themselves when they hit circumstances where employees have protection.

    Above all, look at shifting taxation away from the individual, and onto resources instead - make us pay for not being "green", do it proportionately (e.g. tax air fuel at the same rate as cars, which will allow a huge cut in the price of petrol/diesel), and reward us with freedom and lower tax bills.

    Paris, because she's doing a better job for contractors than Labour is.

  25. Rob Beard

    Re: mileage

    40p a mile? That's a luxury...

    I get the absolute basic, 10p a mile. I just thank my lucky stars that I'm an employee. I was a contractor a couple of years back but I found the time between getting contracts was just too long to support my family.

    I really do feel for some of these IT Contractors though, it was cut throat enough a couple of years back, must be really bad now.


  26. Jay Lewis

    I'd leave this bloody country for good.

    You'd be welcome in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver BC-Seattle-Portland). Plenty of openings, weather's no worse than Scotland.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    gordon brown texture like sandpaper

    "By Nomen Publicus

    It's almost as if they WANT to lose elections."

    reminds me of Irelands eurovision song contest entry.

    I contract, and I'm not too happy that the culture of having to setup a Ltd. company in the IT world just to make it easier to get a job and reduce the tax burden of your employee. In any other industry you could setup as a sole trader, or partnership and get by just fine. The extra taxes associated with running a limited company are just silly, they seemed to be designed to prevent a small company from ever expanding.

    I also have to setup my monthly wages, coupled with directors dividends to get money out of my business and to me without it being taxed to the hills. It would be nice if I could get access to my own money and have an acceptable living wage, as it stands its so expensive to withdraw money from the business, my business is doing great, I however am not. I understand the need to pay tax, but alot of these taxes seem pointless and without function.

    I'm not too bothered about ever complicated tax rules, I have accoutants for that, well I'm not bothered until the rules become so complicated they start charging me extra.

  28. Gianni Straniero


    I withdraw my previous comment unreservedly.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Oh stop moaning ....

    I would like to see you build up a business to employ people with IR35 hanging over you. You clearly know nothing . . . .

  30. Gianni Straniero
    Paris Hilton


    God forbid I should actually comment on the substance of your article, but the original Saatchi and Saatchi slogan was "Labour's not working", which is a much better double entendre.

    PH, because she once asked me for a double entendre. So I gave her one.

  31. Badg3r


    NuLabour: How Much do you earn?

    NuLabour: Give it to us.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC "30 Day rules"

    Something along the lines of, once a "temporary" worker has been in a role for 3 months, they get the same benefits as a Permanent employee - ie can't sack them without notice, and it was supposed to bring other "benefits" as well.

    I got chopped, one of my uncles has told me his firm fired and re-hired all their temps on that day, and I've spoken to a couple of other people who work for companies that did the same.

    I could be getting a little paranoid, but I'm becoming more and more suspicious that Brown wants to completely destroy the English economy and that is why he let the Scots parliament have control over Scottish taxes, and insists on sending so much English money up there as well.

    That, together with the increasingly draconian laws and other BS they keep coming up with, just makes my concerns more and more realistic (don't forget that for every 1p/litre petrol prices rise, Brown gets another .8p/litre tax - so the oil companies aren't the ones making the biggest profit there...)

  33. Anonymous Coward


    ... I love them when they're angry - which seems to be most of the time regardless of the economic / political climate.


    I really don't know why people get so up-tight about money and tax. After all, if you think about it, unless all you do is stash money away and count it, it all goes back to the government in some way or other - all you do by earning and spending it is assist it's progress. It is, after all, the government's money, not yours.

    Try finding some other interest in life other than amassing wealth and possessions - you never know, you night even be happy.

  34. dervheid

    @ Oh stop Moaning

    I'm presuming that you run your own 'small business' by the tone of your comment.

    I'm also sure that like it or not, you're in exactly the same boat as the 'contractors' out there, like myself, running their own Limited company. We're ALL being screwed over by this government, and as we're all operating within the same framework, we're all going to get the same shafting. I'm all in favour of the flat rate tax system. And the Euro. The sooner the better. Then the financial parasites will have to fuck off and find some other poor saps to bleed dry. Unfortunately, that's likely to be the third world countries.

    BTW, I don't believe that just because a small business employs a few people, it makes that small business any more important than mine. Still have to do the books, VAT, PAYE/NI, Corporation Tax, yadda, yadda, yadda...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK plc should share some of the blame...

    I'd like to lay this at the door of the Government but lets be honest the private sector is also doing its best to make life miserable for anyone working in IT. After all its not just the government that are busy outsourcing work to India and other places abroad. Who of us here hasn't been presented with some clueless Elbonian that we have to teach everything we know in 3 weeks?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is another way

    One-man limited companies are sitting ducks. Instead, examine the way your MPs - lawyers and estate agents to a man - manage their affairs and make similar arrangements, viz.

    1. Find at least one other like-minded contractor

    2. Establish a legal partnership and a new limited company

    3. Establish by contract that the partnership manages the limited

    4. Bill time for all of you from the limited, but draw no salary from it as directors

    5. Bill the ltd enough in management fees from the partnership to consume its income

    6. Split the partnership profits

    I leave it as an exercise for the reader to discover the benefits of this arrangement.

  37. Pat

    Re: UK plc should share some of the blame...

    When I was contracting I saw no point in trying to simultaneously do my already busy job and take on the frustrating task of trying to train my cheaper and much less capable replacement, knowing they would cock things up and place the blame on me as I would not be there to prove otherwise.

    The line I used to take was that I would have to document the hand-over, as a chargeable consultancy item that was not already specifically identified in the contract, and that hand-over could only be to a suitably qualified person who could prove they had the same or better tech qualifications than me; otherwise it would be professional training, which I was not contracted to do. Also, I used to keep a day diary to show what problems had been tackled and would say "let's pick an example and see how well they they deal with real issues".

    Documenting this would only sometimes make the contract last a bit longer, but it covered me and raised the blood pressure of those trying to take advantage by doing things on the cheap. Those employers wanting to do things properly could understand my rationale.

    Basically I try to adopt the attitude of a contractor I met a long time ago when I was first a permie; he said "I don't suffer from stress, I'm just a carrier'.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very hard to work thru agents

    that causes no end of problems, as well as losing a substantial %.

    They have their place I suppose, I do wonder though if business would go looking for contractors directly if they were not so entrenched.

    The partnership idea is a good one, lawyers and solicitors like to use that one, so it is fairly well protected.

    The government offshoring IT for its own projects is outrageous though, in many ways this accounts for government IT projects failing so often. There is not really an IT skills shortage in the UK, people are available all over for varying types of projects.

    It is pretty traitorous when a company hires from abroad, normally sounds the death knell for the company. It makes everyone jumpy, they can move accounts abroad, HR, sales and marketing, it is not just IT, but as soon as one dept gets hit it ripples through the rest of the company. Even with the semi offshoring, everyone remembers the manager who up put it in, when they are looking probably best not to mention it on the CV, people are getting quite wise to that problem.

  39. Anonymous Hero
    Paris Hilton


    "I could be getting a little paranoid, but I'm becoming more and more suspicious that Brown wants to completely destroy the English economy and that is why he let the Scots parliament have control over Scottish taxes, and insists on sending so much English money up there as well."

    1. The Scottish Parliament doesn't have any control over income tax or NI, in fact there are no tax varying powers at all.

    2. WTF? You know for years Scotland voted out the Tories who ripped the heart out of Scottish Industry and didn't bother to replace it with anything other than low imagination screw-driver assembly line work. Meanwhile we shelled out our taxes to rebuild the M25 for the umteenth time and generally stoke the overheated coals of the SE England economy with not much in return other than dole cheques. So you big english softy yer damn right we want some of that money back so we can rebuild our country after years of Westminster guided mismanagement and neglect. Jeez.

    Paris, 'cos she'd know how to treat a Scotsman properly.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brown is a Scot

    I just noticed the Scottish remark, and I think it is on the money.

    England is being wrecked, there is no other explanation, it just one thing after another with Brown, he cannot have any aspiration for election in a couple of years, he has alienated nearly every sector.

    I think he may go for Scottish independence and see if he can get elected there. It may well be one of the last nails in the coffin that he enacts as 'PM without general election consensus'.

    In doing what he has done, though he has driven up the right wing, a lot of people are considering voting BNP over this debacle. And in some ways it may be what the country needs to get back on its feet. I am not sure the Conservatives realise just how many people have been put out, their policies are looking very similar to Labour's.

    I have been wondering who to vote for at the next general election, none of the old main parties seem worth it, and a message of some sort has to be set, or we are going to lose democracy. So, I started searching.

    In this search I stumbled across the English Democrats, it may very well make sense to vote for a party like this. They seem to have hit the nail on the head. We have to do something the major parties just use spin, and ignore the populace, I think we have been hoodwinked enough, and our liberties trampled upon.

    In fact I would like to see a government that did not have a majority, where every issue had to be voted on by members of parliament, and alliances made to attempt to form a government. That way they would not be able to do such daft things.

    The only time you want a strong government is when the country is under direct threat of invasion, and the government are opposed to that invasion. Otherwise we end up with them trying to make up threats. It has to be a sitting army poised to storm the white cliff's of dover, not some made up bogey man threat.

    Strategic voting maybe the order of the day actually, work out how to end up with a parliament without a majority, and force a government of alliance. That could well be the most politically productive thing a person could do. Our political system should be an MP representing the constituency and we need to get back to that.

  41. Anthony

    @@ Oh stop moaning

    There is a massive difference between running a small business and being an individual IT contractor, which is what the article actually seems to be about.

    IT contractors carry risk, but they are paid more than permises and reap huge tax benefits comparitively (that's without even considering things like off-shoring). I suggest stop the whinging and make the effort not to get caught up in IR35 (it ain't hard). And if you don't like being a contractor (or your job has become a commodity), become a permie and start paying real taxes!

    PS To the poster regarding labor voters in IT; trust me, there are more than two!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That explains my last company then.

    Employees were sacked and rehired by "another" company. They worked solely on our behalf but were charged back at excessive rates by the other company. Eg one worker was on 36K full time before he was "laid off" (made redundant due to budget 'overspend') and rehired by the other company at £31K( no redundancy payment as he continued in the same group), either that or the dole. My company then had to buy his time back. For less than one weeks worktime per month, our annual bill was now over £40K.

    They eventually did this with all the roles but I did not rejoin as it also involved relocation so instead of reducing IT spend they had to increase it considerably just to cover half of the services I used to provide.

    I knew it was all some sort of Tax fiddle but this explains it.

    While we are on it, can someone explain why an MP is allowed to claim expenses up to £250 without receipt and yet we have to justify and prove every little penny, am I missing something?

  43. David Cantrell
    Paris Hilton

    Oh boo hoo

    My heart bleeds for the tax-dodging bastards.

    While there are a few competent contractors, most of the freelance workers I have had the misfortune of dealing with are only freelancers because they are too lazy to do manual labour and too fucking stupid to get and keep any other proper job.

    Paris, because she's thick as pigshit.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Flat tax of 20%

    "Oh dear gods, no. Please spend a little time with a calculator before posting stupid comments like that. To match the current personal tax burden (which is now nearly as high as it was under Thatcher), you will need a flat tax rate of probably 40% or more."

    Not so, it works out at 25% of gross even for ultra high tax Germany, for UK it works at 20% and under.

  45. Steen Hive

    Poor wee contractors

    On yer Tebbity bikes, then! Maybe a career in coal mining, shipbuilding, the motor industry or steel awaits?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Re: Contractors

    I do have many other interests beside amassing wealth and possessions. I'm addicted to sleeping inside which means I have to pay rent and I can't get through a day without eating food. Ridiculous I know.

    Maybe it's not that bad but shouldn't having high qualifications in an industry that is now vital to the worlds economy and communications mean I can achieve these 'eat and have home' dreams without working more hours than the guy in the local hand car wash?

    I mean no dis-respect to these valeting auto mobile professionals. Watching the speed with which they turnaround a gold standard wash wax and boot is no less impressive than an F1 pit-crew. However, It did make me question whether the degree was worth it.

    This one, because I'm questioning the meaning of IT.

  47. W

    Vancouver BC-Seattle-Portland

    @ Jay Lewis (or anyone else with gen on the Pacific NW)

    "You'd be welcome in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver BC-Seattle-Portland). Plenty of openings, weather's no worse than Scotland."

    My partner and I constantly joke about doing this. I'm not IT per se, I'm a CAD draughtsman. She's a healthcare professional. We're 29 w/o kids and we moved to Glasgow from England 3 years ago for an adventure. It's crackin in a lot of ways. But life's for living. I'm not up for Oz or NZ, but the Pacific NW seems to get nothing but props from practically everyone, for a number of reasons. Seems to be something of a cultural anomally for the US/Canada, too (in that it has some). I'd perhaps head for Denmark, Holland or similar, but for the language thing.

    What are reasons 1,2 & 3 for taking the Pacific NW plunge?

    What are reasons 1,2 & 3 for not taking the Pacific NW plunge?

  48. Mr Percent

    Giving up work because of fuel cost

    Bollocks...Show us the calcs.....

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >UK Flat tax of 20%

    >>To match the current personal tax burden (which is now nearly as high as it was under Thatcher), you will need a flat tax rate of probably 40% or more."

    >Not so, it works out at 25% of gross even for ultra high tax Germany, for UK it works at 20% and under.

    This just isn't true. A flat 25% is the middle of the ranges of estimates to replace income tax alone, on the assumption that every working person in the country is salaried or pensioned. If you want to replace NI, CGT and self-employed income tax with flat rate rather than collecting them as they are, you need to add an additional 15% on to the flat rate to retain the same 'take'

    The second failure in there is the same as the original AC posted, a flat rate will shift too much taxation on to the poor. If you then alleviate that with some form of personal allowance, the only way to pay for that is to increase your 25%, probably by 15%

  50. Robert Day

    It's not just UK, OR Contracts

    Greetings form o'er the pond.

    Not really 110% relavant here, but close enough. I'm from Canada (eh?) and the market sucks here for I/T workers. I worked for Dell computers, who just 2 years ago, opened a shiny new location in the "Silicon Valley of Canada" and even started building a second building - things looked great. I got a call a few months back.. they were closing the site, and wanted me in the next day to return all my Dell owned equipment. Done, and over in a day. I admit, being a perm I got severance pay, and it was pretty decent too.. But it's going on 2 months now, and I'm still looking. I spent this week up on a roof top ripping old shingles down. I'm spending next week spraying ashphalt driveway sealer, and sweeping dirt off the laneways. After that, I MAY have a tech support contract, but dont; knwo for sure.

    As for the taxes.... Let's not even go there. The I/T sector here is cut throat at best and having to deal with the federal, provincial, and municipal beancounters, to pay the taxes to run the country in to the ground.. well "That's all I have to say about that."

    Mine's the one that's a few years out of style, with rips in the pockets, cause I can't afford a newer one.

  51. amanfromMars Silver badge

    I leave it as an exercise for the reader to discover the benefits of this arrangement.

    "There is another way " .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 9th June 2008 22:23 GMT

    AC, those dodges would leave one vulnerable to trumped up conspiracy charges.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    @David Cantrell

    It's funny but my experience of the majority of permies is like your experience of contractors. It would surprise me enormously if you could tie your own shoelaces much less perform an IT function other than pressing the "ON" button but I digress.

    New Liebore has systematically tried to screw pretty much everyone that earned more than the average wage since it came into power. How it took 2 years for them to get around to IR35 I'll never know. You will notice, however, that they didn't come truly unstuck until the had a go at the little guy by nicking his 10% tax band. All hell broke loose because they were attacking their "core vote".

    If you aren't in their "core vote" and you vote for them then you are a MORON. Fortunately, a lot of the former MORON vote will have suddenly over the last 6 months had an epiphany and will henceforth not be MORONS and stop voting for New Liebore. They are now finished, defunct, an ex-party of government in waiting.

    Hopefully, the Tories when they win power at the next election will have the sense to reverse New Liebore's anti-contractor stance and permit us to get on with our lives, earn our money, pay only the taxes we HAVE TO PAY and everything will be hunky dorey again.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    trumped up conspiracy charges

    AMFM, those "dodges", or "normal practice" as MPs call them, were taught to me by one who was working them successfully, and they worked for me for many years. Maybe partnership law is different on Mars, but here on Earth I particularly liked the "Pay no tax the first year" advantage and the "Year 2 never gets assessed" advantage.

  54. bsop

    Re: Giving up work due to fuel costs

    This actually is not as unreasonable as it sounds.

    I was working as a permie (IT Helpdesk) and the fuel costs slowly made it uneconomical to get to work. Over the two years I worked there, the fuel costs doubled and I was considering leaving the position due to the sheer economics. As it ended up, I was made redundant and found a job much closer to home.

    That was about four years ago. Now I drive a third of the distance, spend 10 minutes door-to-door instead of about an hour, and can still afford to keep going to work, even in the face of four years of increasing fuel costs.

    If it came to it again, I would be prepared to make the same decision. I do not live to work, I work to live. The jobs are out there. And, should I need to, I will find one that I can do that pays me enough to staive off starvation and not require me to sell off the children as indentured servants.

  55. Nano nano

    Paid more than permies ?

    I think you'll find that they are mostly more experienced (and older) than their permie colleagues and if they _were_ to ever consider a permie role, it would not be in the same role, but several rungs higher up the corporate ladder, on a similar remuneration to their contracting rate.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Yep taxed as a permie, treated as a business. totally fair

    Just to answer the ill informed comments on here.

    Offshore payment has allways been illegal, you earn it here, you pay tax here. Unless of course you are a NL donor.

    Any arrangement entered into primarily to avoid tax can be ignored and taxed as if it doesn't exist so setting up false management companies will just get you into trouble, plenty of case law to cover this. Its also part of the basis for IR35.

    Unfortunately for all those permies that seem jealous of contractors the basis for most of the contractors financial arrangements were completely legal. Otherwise HMRC wouldn't have lost all but a few percent of properly contested cases.The truth of IR35 is it is just another tax grab.

    If people truly believe businesses should pay the same tax level as employees then it has to be based on equality. Why should contractors pay employee level tax when Lawyers etc don't? They all sell their knowledge.

    now my view.

    However New Lie have managed to make it officially even more risky for IT contractors, you may have noticed all those visa holders popping over being paid peanuts, now they can't replace permie people legally, but Ms Primarilo & ms Hewitt feel its perfectly acceptable for people taxed abroad and surviving on generous expenses to supplant contractor businesses who were paying plenty of tax.

    I'd actually collected 4 other customers but they didn't quite have enough work to pay my mortgage so the savings in my company fell to near zero.

    I went back to the dark side in 2003 (when I found someone who would have me) after 9 months of eating Lidl beans. I was one of the lucky ones, we didn't lose the house. Though I did turn down £7 an hour supporting school networks it was insulting after years of study and experience, could have been my big break according to the agency.

    As to stability most permies would strike if their paymasters cut their package by 10 - 20% or sack them, oh of course that is illegal for permies. Just happened in spades across London.

    I used to earn twice the national average in a comparitively junior permie position before Labour came to power, now I find tanker drivers are turning down a pay deal similar to mine and I'm a few steps up.

    Small wonder there is a skill shortage in IT, intelligent students see the future of IT as a career of lower wages and more round the clock support. They think stuff it I'll become a salesman and improve my Golf handicap on Friday afternoons, while IT wonder if they will see their family that weekend before flying off to sort out another mess some suit created.

    Bitter moi? never! ps I have only spent about an hour awake with my family since Wednesday.

    Problem is I love IT work and at my age, I can't retrain as a gigilo my other career choice not sure the wife would let me either.

    All those that think contracting is an easy life then tell me once you have filled the pot, if not get off and let the real men & women use it.

    Paris, well because she has low barriers to entry like IT. (allegedly of course)

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