Letter: Driven out of the building trade

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The Independent Online
Driven out of the building trade

Sir: One other possible cause for the current labour shortage in the construction industry springs to mind ("Skills shortage hits builders", 10 May).

Since 6 April this year both the Contributions Agency and the Inland Revenue are querying the self-employed status of thousands of sub-contractors within the industry. Many, like myself, have been bona fide sub-contractors in the eyes of the Inland Revenue since the imposition of selective employment tax in the 1960s, some 30 years ago, even though we are, in the main, one-man bands. Now the Contributions Agency and the Inland Revenue in their information booklets insist that many sub-contractors are not genuinely self-employed and we ought to be employed under PAYE.

As a result, I know that a local plastering contractor has ceased trading - he provided work for seven plasterers; a painting contractor has seen his labour costs rise by 12 per cent and two carpenters, a bricklayer and a handyman have left the industry, perhaps never to return.

ARTHUR STITT

Wootton St Lawrence, Hampshire

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