Jeremy Corbyn has attacked freelance contractors by insinuating that the high fees that contractors get are not worth the work they do.
Corbyn wrote an article in a leading British newspaper with reference to the six-figure payment that a London hospital had paid to an off-payroll appointee. He claimed in the article that the NHS was steeped in debt but it was still paying a huge amount per year to the appointee.
However, the Labour leader did not take into account the actual amount that the contractor received, as they have to pay taxes on their earnings. Also, it is important to realise that contractors, including IT contractors, do not have job security, pensions, sick pay, employment rights and holiday pay. It is therefore unfair to compare off-payroll workers’ rates to regular employees’.
The newspaper continued to compare the rates, and this prompted the Freelancer & Contractors Services Association (FCSA) to criticise the newspaper.
Margaret Hodge MP, the then-Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said “Avoiding tax and national insurance when paying public sector staff is almost always staggeringly inappropriate.” This statement, as the FCSA pointed out, was very different from what the newspaper had reported.
The newspaper had also reported that the Government had vowed to stop the use of contractors in the public sector. However, the FCSA stated that there were exceptions to this rule since there would be circumstances when the public sector will require the services of freelance contractors and IT contractors operating via PSCs.