David Davis MP sets out vision for Conservative success at the next general election
Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden, David Davis, wants to see IR35 abandoned in a bid to win over voters at the next general election.
Writing in the Telegraph last week, Davis called for a range of policy measures ahead of the next election to ensure the best chances of another Conservative government.
Davis is just one of the MPs calling for the end of IR35, with Sir John Redwood also raising the issue earlier this year.
With an election due no later than 28th January 2025 – and recent polls showing that Labour are currently ahead – senior Conservative Party members want Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, to deliver “a vision for Britain” that matches voters’ “aspirations”.
Government has offered “quiet competence”
Noting that “most elections are decided on economic issues”, Davis wants the party leadership to “show discipline” and display “energy, imagination and courage”.
He said Sunak had demonstrated “quiet competence” so far, but needs to “develop a new vision for the future” and deliver “a serious plan” on “jobs, wages, standards of living”.
For Davis, that means putting in place “a tax structure that encourages investment and rewards hard work”. He suggests the following measures as starting points:
- The cancellation of IR35, which “would hand greater freedom the self-employed”
- A 2% reduction in Income Tax rates, a “much touted” policy under Rishi Sunak
Alongside these, he proposes that “there are plenty of options available”, outside of tax issues, on housing and the NHS.
A longstanding critic of unpopular policies
Davis has been an active campaigner against both the off-payroll working rules and the Loan Charge.
Last year, he authored another article in the Telegraph, attacking the government for a number of policy failures. One of these mistakes was the implementation of the off-payroll working rules, which he said are “causing huge damage to small businesses in every part of the UK”.
He has been similarly critical of the Loan Charge, labelling it “a legislative, operational and communications failure on a grand scale”. In the same article, he also called it “an unjust and retrospective tax”, highlighting that “no legal precedent” exists to allow for retrospective taxation.
Davis has campaigned to raise awareness of the policy, both as a member of the Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and in the media. In a BBC radio interview in 2021, he urged the government to recover taxes from operators of tax avoidance schemes, rather than contractors who were “effectively coerced” into the arrangements.
Westminster “circus” to blame for IR35
Dave Chaplin, CEO of IR35 Shield, welcomed Davis’s comments, accusing policy designers and tax officials at HMRC of “living in ivory towers”.
He also said that parliamentarians are caught up in “circus and cheap headlines” that distract them from “carefully scrutinising legislation” which comes before them – including “the disaster that is IR35”.
His comments were published in the Freelance Informer.
Chaplin also issued a rallying cry to contractors ahead of the general election: “Of the near half-a-million contractors due to be affected by IR35, only 3868 joined the campaign”, which aimed to prevent the introduction of the off-payroll working rules.
“Imagine what would happen if the other 496,000 spoke to their MPs as we head into the next election”.