We are adapting in the eye of the storm

The complex setting of Covid-19 and Brexit has presented the construction industry with a serious number of hurdles to negotiate. The challenges faced in the early part of 2021 are enormous but not insurmountable. The 17th-century historian Thomas Fuller once wrote, “The darkest hour is just before the dawn”. In modern terms, and to give it a construction twist, we’d probably say, “There is light at the end of the tunnel.” This feels an apt way to describe our current climate. However, whilst these remain challenging times, it’s important to remain optimistic and, at The Guild, we are doing just that.

The Guild prides itself in protecting our clients, not only with our in-house experts but also our wide range of external contacts and influencers. Since March 2020, we’ve spent much of our time getting ready for the challenges ahead – such as IR35 solution, delivering on new rules surrounding domestic VAT reverse charge, reviewing new EU immigration laws and continuing to enhance our HMRC compliance.

2020 was a year packed full of preparation and we have continued to engage with and support our clients, with the aim of facilitating the payment of sub-contractors.

Lobbying Government to support our clients

Readers will know that The Guild continues to work closely with industry experts and, where possible, seeks to provide input into Government policy. Late last year, supporting the Lords Finance Bill Committee, we were delighted to help secure changes to the Finance Bill 2020. The issue faced was very technical and complex, which, if not tackled, would have had wide-reaching consequences. Ultimately, the Government confirmed that it would legislate to correct the unintended widening of the definition of an intermediary from 6 April 2021 in the next Finance Bill 2021 and that the equivalent changes would be made through the statutory instrument to the NICs Regulations ahead of the implementation date of 6 April 2021.

This month (January 2021), we had the opportunity to ask the Chancellor a direct question about supporting the construction industry workforce and providing them with the flexibility to work in a hybrid way. We continue to champion highly-skilled and well-paid, self-employed construction workers and extol the many benefits they bring the UK economy.

Should you wish to find out more about this work, please contact Peter Smallwood.

From seminars to webinars

Since 2010, The Guild has offered clients free access to its educational seminars. The seminars cover a range of topical subjects across law, taxation and politics. Since the pandemic we have had to adapt and look at new ways of delivering these, this has led to the launch of our online webinars.

Recently, we secured the services of Huw Merriman MP who joined us for a webinar looking at the future of rail infrastructure in the UK, hosted with Railway Gazette. In early 2021, we will have held several webinars, engaging hundreds of stakeholders. Topics range from IR35, VAT Domestic Reverse Charge and the challenge faced with post-Brexit immigration. Each webinar engages our internal and external partners to deliver thoughtful, appealing and relevant sessions for our clients.

The Guild has also joined many industry webinars over the last 12 months to put probing questions to ministers and industry experts. These sessions allow us to remain up to date with significant issues.

If you’d like to find out more, please email – events@trusttheguild.com

Producing and delivering guidance

The Guild continues to produce practical and handy guides. Our most recent offering is a 10-page document, focusing on VAT reverse charge in construction. This guide outlines the changes facing the industry. Should you wish to obtain a copy please let us know.

The delivery of guidance has also taken the form of tailored workshops; the issues surrounding IR35 in the private sector benefit from a focused and individual approach and we have now worked with multiple clients to prepare them for the important changes in April.

GuildHUB will be a source of this information in the future – this will be the nerve centre for clients and their advice needs, providing a useful sounding board and resource backed by specialist knowledge in critical areas.

Working with AccountingWEB

AccountingWEB.co.uk is the largest independent online community for accounting professionals, and The Guild has begun working closely with this company and providing cutting-edge content on their website.

The regularly-posted articles complement the work it does directly with clients and summarises in a clear way the challenges clients and their accountants are facing; it’s well worth a visit – https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/the-guild.

Summary

The Guild has a track record of working through the minefield of engaging self-employed labour. We place ourselves strategically between clients and sub-contractors but we also offer a broad range of well-informed and trusted information.

In 2020, we learned to adapt to a new normal and hope that more will choose us to guide them through the challenging times ahead.

GuildHUB is an information resource, provided free of charge by The Guild, for accounting professionals and their clients.  If you wish to contact The Guild, please email contact@trusttheguild.com.

The content of this article is for guidance only and shall not constitute advice. Please seek independent advice or contact GuildHUB for information about its services.

Peter Smallwood
02/2021
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