Autumn Budget 2017 UK: Why it was very good news if you're self-employed, a freelancer, consultant or contractor

 
Lynsey Barber
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Anyone working for themselves can relax a little after the Budget (Source: Getty)

Freelancers, consultants and the high-earning self-employed can breath a sigh of relief after today's Budget - for now at least.

Philip Hammond did not pull tough new measures out of his big red box that would have seen them pay more tax as many expected.

Instead, the chancellor has taken a more softly softly approach that has been welcomed by business groups, consulting on the matter instead of launching straight in with new measures.

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There had been speculation of two changes that would have hit the self-employed: reducing the level at which small business (which many people set themselves up as) pay VAT, from its current level of £85,000; and introducing new rules that have already been applied to the public sector bringing the amount contractors pay in tax into line with that of employees.

"We're pleased to see that the chancellor has understood our message that businesses of all sizes – including the vital self-employed community – need support," said Chris Bryce, head of the Association of Independent Professionals and the self-employed (IPSE).

"Tax is already a nightmare for many self-employed people, and lowering the VAT threshold would have added reams of red tape to the mess. By wisely choosing not to lower the threshold, the chancellor has saved hundreds of thousands of self-employed people from very serious difficulties."

Read more: Should some self-employed people be entitled to the national minimum wage?

The group also welcomed the decision not to extend what it described as "disastrous changes" to IR35 to the private sector.

"We told the treasury that it can’t roll out the changes applied in the public sector to the private sector until there is clear evidence of its impact to date," said Federation of Small Business (FSB) chairman Mike Cherry.

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