UK Government plans to implement its ‘f*ck you pay me’ service

If there’s one promising thing to come out of last week’s general election, it is the proposed support for freelancers and small businesses.

The Conservative Party’s convincing victory surprised most in the UK general election. All the polls had the result pretty much dead even along with the second party, Labour. In the post-mortem, the winners and losers were almost unanimous to place importance on the enterprise vote, and how decisive it was. Entrepreneurs, it seems, did not trust Labour’s message on business.

‘Aspiration’, therefore, has emerged as the early buzzword to express the theme of the next five years in UK politics. Labour have wasted little time in admitting their policy on business, and those who aspire to better themselves, was unconvincing. The Liberal Democrats, decimated in the election for entering into a coalition government with the Conservatives in 2010, placed support for the creative industries at the heart of their manifesto and will, presumably, continue this push. And the victorious Tories announced a raft of policies to placate the small business owner i.e. ‘those who want to get on’.

While the result is a potential disaster for the poor and unselfish, these policies include trebling the amount of Government-backed start-up loans, cutting red tape (equating to savings of up t0 £2000 for small businesses) and taking those under 21 years of age out of the need to pay National Insurance contributions.

All promising moves, but the one that caught my eye was the Small Business Conciliation Service. In essence, it aims to deal with disputes over late payment, forgoing the need for court cases and expensive legal fees — ‘a crippling issue for the UK’s smallest businesses’. The double whammy is that consistent late payers will be recorded, and you’d imagine this would affect their ability to work with other businesses in the future. So it is hoped the threat of being effectively blacklisted by the rest of the business community will deter companies from purposely deferring monies owed or being slack in the finance department.

Wearing a cynical hat, these measures may also help grease the wheels to encourage those out of work into freelancing for work that just isn’t out there, but decreasing (or rather, fiddling) unemployment figures in the bargain. However, assuming the Conservatives deliver on their pledges (and it’s not unknown for winning governments to renege on them) it could be an encouraging time to start a small business in the UK.

P.S. Just in case you haven’t watched Mike Monteiro’s talk on getting paid, here’s a good way to spend the next 40 minutes: