Lords quiz public bodies, Government departments and industry on personal service companies

07 January 2014

Representatives from the Department of Health and the Local Government Association will be among witnesses questioned by the House of Lords Committee charged with investigating the tax issues relating to the use of Personal Service Companies (PSCs) tomorrow, Wednesday 8 January

At 4.00 pm, the Committee will hear from:

  • Michael Coughlin, Executive Director of the Local Government Association (LGA); and
  • Gordon Fleck, Policy Manager at the Department of Health;
  • Tim Sands, Deputy Director - NHS Pay, Pensions and Employment Services
  • Ralph Coulbeck, Director of Strategy, NHS Trust Development Authority 

The Committee are likely to ask the witnesses questions on a variety of issues including in which parts of local government and health services are PSCs used, and whether this has increased or decreased in recent years; if health services or local government are pushing people into working through a PSC because they do not want to create an employment relationship with their workers; if there are any particular difficulties for local authorities or health services when staff are engaged through other intermediaries, such as agencies; and if their HR, procurement and finance departments have sufficient knowledge of IR35, and if they provide workers being engaged through PSCs with assistance to help them understand the rules which make them responsible for the risk of IR35.

Following on, at 5.00 pm, the Committee will question:

  • Dr Alix Thom, Employment & Skills Policy Manager for Oil and Gas UK; and
  • Robert Fort, Tax Director at Amey Plc. 

The Committee will ask the witnesses questions on areas including if there are any advantages in engaging workers using a PSC to deliver particular business needs; if IR35 creates confusion in the contractor market and the negative impact any such confusion may have; if people contracted through PSCs in their sectors understand their tax and National Insurance liabilities, their lack of employment rights and, if so, what benefits they gain from using a PSC; and what level of interest businesses take in establishing whether IR35 might apply to contracts.

The evidence session will take place on Wednesday 8 January at 4.00 pm in Committee Room 4.

The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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