Contractor news round-up: November 2021

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Sarah Henderson
26 Nov 2021 @ 10:11 am
in category: News

We don’t want to panic anyone, but have you noticed that it appears to be the end of November already? How on earth did we get to Advent calendar and mince pie territory so quickly? This time next week we’ll be writing Christmas-themed blogs and getting ready for the end of 2021 and it feels as if November has gone by in a blink of the eye. But that doesn’t mean that the month wasn’t jam-packed with contractor news.

As ever in the contracting world, it’s been a busy month for IR35 stories, but also news of bounce back loan fraud as well. Then we’ve had some questions about employers’ liability that we wanted to answer for you, and a round-up of some of the best refer-a-friend offers that can save you money at this expensive time of year. So, without further ado, this was the month that was…

Former Sky Sports presenter loses IR35 appeal

One of the big headlines in the world of IR35 this month was that former Sky Sports presenter Dave Clark lost his IR35 appeal, carrying a tax liability of more than a quarter of a million pounds. Clark’s limited company, Little Piece of Paradise, carried out work for Sky presenting darts and boxing until his retirement in 2020. HMRC have claimed for taxes underpaid between 2013 and 2018. Unfortunately for Clark, Little Piece of Paradise failed all three of the main tests for employment status: personal service, mutuality of obligation (MOO), and right of control. This meant that the tribunal rejected his appeal.

You can read Andy Vessey’s assessment of the case over on our blog.

Speaking of Andy and IR35, your questions on the off-payroll rules continue to pour in. This month, Andy has been answering questions on which aspects of a contract can affect your IR35 status. This includes zero-hour contracts, training courses, and who supplies equipment. Find out all the answers – and how to submit your own question – in the Ask Andy blog.

Bounce back loan fraud sees three company directors banned

The bounce back loan scheme (BBLS) was introduced as part of the government’s coronavirus financial support package to help businesses navigate the effect of the pandemic, allowing small-to-medium businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover, with a maximum loan of £50,000 available. Essentially, they were commercially available loans guaranteed by the government.

Of course, they came with restrictions to prevent their abuse, specifying what the BBLS could and couldn’t be used for and why it should be applied for. The Insolvency Service was even granted retrospective powers allowing them to investigate instances of BBLS fraud, even after the company has been dissolved. But, predictably some business owners have misused the scheme and the Insolvency Service have been using these powers to punish them. In recent weeks and months, no less than three company directors have lost the right to become company directors again.

You can read all about it on our blog on the bounce back loan fraud, for an overview of the three individual cases and find out about how you can ensure you are legally compliant as a contractor.

What is employers’ liability?

Employers’ liability insurance is one that leaves many contractors scratching their heads. The question we get asked a lot is: “why do I need employers’ liability cover when I’m the only person in my limited company?” The answer is, quite simply, because many clients include it as a standard obligation in their contracts, as do recruiters. But there are other benefits to having it in place too. For instance, it reinforces for HMRC that any substitution clauses in your contract are, in fact, genuine and demonstrates that you are taking on financial risk.

To help break down employers’ liability, we’ve written a useful guide covering:

- What employers’ liability cover actually is;

- What example claims might look like;

- Why you need employers’ liability as a contractor;

- The levels of cover available.

You can read the guide and get answers to all of the above in the Contractor Guides section of our blog.

It pays to refer your friends

We all know how great it feels to be able to recommend a product or service to a friend. When you’ve had a great experience, you want to tell people about it to make sure they can have a great experience too – and it feels good to share the love. Of course, it feels even better when there’s a refer-a-friend deal to take advantage of too.

We’ve had a scout around and pulled together 10 of the best refer-a-friend deals out there at the moment. If one of the ones we’ve included is a service you already use, recommend a friend but be sure to tell them about the offer so that you can be rewarded for it when they sign up. If you are looking to sign up for one of those we’ve picked, then find out if anyone you know already uses them – you might both get a bonus out of something you were planning on signing up for anyway.

We may have cheekily included our own in there too, which includes not only a great offer, but also a prize draw.

Christmas is round the corner

When you hear from us next month, we’ll have our novelty PJs on, we’ll be sipping a hot chocolate, and we’ll almost certainly be watching a cheesy Christmas movie. We actually have an idea for one about a high flying insurance investigator who discovers the true meaning of Christmas while on a job in a quirky, festive small town. We call it Under(writing) the Mistletoe… No? We digress.

If you want to speak to our friendly team of insurance experts about your contractor insurance, or just help us out with our Christmas film ideas, feel free to get in touch.


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