Production companies could be”less attractive” to freelancers if they replace sole traders with PSCs, warns Bectu

3 February 2020

Bectu has met with  the outside broadcasting company NEP UK  for a second time to discuss the company’s announcement that it no longer engages sole traders.

The meeting between NEP UK and Bectu at the end of January failed to determine why the company is implementing the change, which means it will only engage freelancers working through limited companies.

The move, which came into force on 1 February 2020, has been met by a warning from Bectu that its members could deem production companies like NEP UK “less attractive” to work for if they force sole traders to become Personal Service Companies (PSCs).

The company refused to budge on its terms despite Tony Lennon, Bectu’s Freelance and Research Officer, talking its management through the IR35 changes and the impact on the freelance workforce.

Speaking after the meeting, Lennon commented: “NEP UK gave us no convincing reason for the change, which will expose the company to additional tax risk.”

Sean Kelly, from the Bectu Outside Broadcasting Network, added that a number of sole traders had told Bectu they were “considering turning down NEP UK as a client” unless the company changed its position.

Kelly continued: “This gives a clear indication that freelance talent could find companies like NEP UK less attractive  to work for and steer clear of those who try to impose changes on sole traders in this way.”

Though the change was implemented on 1 February, the company said it is  “still listening” to freelancers. Kelly advised: “It’s vital that members considering leaving NEP let us know now, and we’ll pass this information on to the company urgently.”