Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament, setting out how the government will continue to secure the public finances and measures announced include a further focus on tackling bogus self employment.
The chancellor said that economy is now growing faster than predicted. As a result, borrowing will be lower. By setting out a Autumn Statement that focuses on the continuing need to reduce spending, the government is reinforcing its commitment to tackling the deficit and help get the public finances back in to balance.
The chancellor also announced a package of measures to tackle tax avoidance, tax evasion, and fraud, which could raise more than £9 billion over the next five years.
The government will consult on strengthening existing legislation to ensure the correct amount of tax and national insurance is paid where a worker is believed to be a direct employed, with effect from April 2014.
The Treasury said measures would include a clamp down on tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning and including preventing employment intermediaries from disguising employment as self-employment to avoid tax.
The Treasury estimates that around 300,000 workers in construction are in this position and it could be costing the government more than £380 million.
Since the economic downturn of 2008, the construction industry has lost 132,000 jobs, 1,200 apprentices and 18,000 companies have gone into administration. Despite signs of growth across the industry, output levels are 13% below the 2008 peak.
Julia Evans, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, said: “The freeze to business rates and fuel duty are welcome but, at a time when we really need to train and attract talent to the industry to deliver large programmes of construction work, the removal of national insurance contributions for under 21s in 2015 will come far too late.”
The Federation of Master Builders said the Chancellor had missed a golden opportunity to reverse underinvestment in Britain’s ageing housing infrastructure by not implementing a reduced rate of VAT on domestic renovation and repair.