THE FREELANCING situation at Haymarket is much more complex than Tim Dawson suggested in the April Freelance. The new régime began with the insistence that I register on Haymarket's "Supplier Management System" - a lengthy series of forms which asked extremely intrusive questions about turnover, profit and even delved into the detail of my liability insurances (which it was clear Haymarket expected me to have). These forms took me four unpaid hours to complete.
This is, I am told, an attempt to establish that you are actually self-employed, and I have some sympathy with Haymarket's belts-and-braces approach; HMRC is hounding the self-employed mercilessly at the moment, and Haymarket needs to cover its ass.
That said, the suggestion at the end of my last contract with Haymarket was that they would now tax everyone at source regardless; I made it perfectly clear to them that I can show six years' accounts and a list of 20 clients which say I am self-employed; I am not prepared to go through the ridiculous charade of being offered holiday and the expense of reclaiming income tax, merely because Haymarket's not prepared to have a showdown with HMRC. I have not worked for Haymarket since.
It's facile to blame Haymarket for this situation. The culprit is HMRC with its zeal for pursuing the small change of freelances, because tackling huge corporate tax fraud has been placed in the round file marked "Too difficult.".
Broadening the subject to rates (and Haymarket's were decent), a fag-packet calculation shows that anyone earning less than £140 a day at the moment would be better off getting a salary; add in the inevitable weeks when the work dries up and the sums show that the minimum experienced freelancers should settle for is £150. And that ignores the cost of actually running your micro-business.