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Transport for London furore gives all freelancers and contractors a bad name and that’s unfair says FCSA

Media reports (Daily Mail, March 10th) suggesting that Transport for London has encouraged some staff to be paid “off the books” needs to be addressed immediately argues the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association fearing that all legitimate freelancers and contractors will be tarnished with the same brush.

Julia Kermode, CEO of the FCSA believes that the TfL reports are a misrepresentation of the sector as a whole and does not paint a clear picture about the roles being undertaken.  They do not appear to recognise the important role of freelancers and contractors in the modern workforce, and imply that something is wrong at TfL.

Said Julia Kermode: “If any contractors at Transport for London are working inappropriately then it is unacceptable and should be stamped out now.  The language in the report is inflammatory, suggesting that the workers are “off the books” which implies something underhand.  In reality, most freelancers and contractors work legitimately and compliantly off payroll.  By definition, freelancers and contractors are not employees, but are procured to provide services to the business and therefore would not be part of an organisation’s payroll.

“Increasingly, many organisations rely on freelancers and contractors as they enable businesses to be agile and scale up or down according to demand.   Individuals working for themselves are in a very different position to an employee – they have no job security or benefits, and are taking significant personal risk in choosing to work this way.

“Whilst we do not have the full facts of this case, the media should not tar all freelancers with the same brush and we must redress the balance and change the perception that all temporary workers are tax avoiders and evaders.  Disappointingly the report does not present a balanced view, but instead it fires a cheap shot at the very workforce that has helped the UK’s economic recovery to date in all sectors.  We should be nurturing these workers not penalising them.

“The truth of this story is that freelancers and contractors are helping TfL to retain its position in keeping London moving.”