Looking for New Opportunities

My latest role as Project Delivery Consultant / 3rd Line Wintel / Infrastructure Systems Support Analyst has ended. I am looking for a role within a max 50 mile radius of Weldon Northamptonshire, to include Bedford, Corby, Milton Keynes, Wellingborough, Northampton, Leicester, Coventry and Peterborough. If you have something that may be of interest please contact me, Kevin Edwards on 01536 738297 www.edwardsnet.co.uk

Chancellor under immediate pressure to stop IR35 changes

The new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has been welcomed into his role by IR35 specialists who immediately advised him to stop the roll-out of IR35 reform on 6th April.

Chancellor must consider global implications 

The threat IR35 reform poses to UK contractors is one thing, but the wider impact of the changes must also be considered by the new Chancellor, explained APSCo’s Bowers: “The UK labour market is currently ranked fourth for competitiveness globally and is one of the best recognised in the world. However, the roll-out of IR35 in the private sector has the potential to not only impact those individuals who have the entrepreneurial spirit to assume the risks and burdens of self-employment, but also those sectors of the economy which rely most heavily on independent contractors, such as banking, pharmaceuticals and technology.”  Kevin Edwards

IR35 Woes affecting Jobs, Business Continuity, and Livelihoods

Impending amendments to the IR35 taxation class are causing grief for genuine contracting/sub-contracting businesses across the UK. I have noticed that very few contract positions are being advertised and it appears this is due to IR35 changes introduced by the HMRC.

So, what’s happened?

It has become apparent that yet again the HMRC has not thought through their latest piece of legislation which will no doubt have a knock-on effect throughout the UK’s business world. Most UK businesses are reliant upon the smooth running of their IT systems with ongoing security assessment and threat prevention being at the forefront of business development. Consultants and other contractors are brought in from the outside in order to provide their expertise and to carry the businesses forward with their projects. New legislation will render these consultant company roles as untenable and as a result will force the closure of many consultant companies, and as a result cause hardship and increased unemployment. A further result of this would be that there are insufficient resources for companies to call upon for their projects and maintenance of their existing systems.

Permanent Employment ‘no option’

One area we have first hand knowledge and experience of is companies taking on permanent staff purely for the purpose of filling a temporary role, subsequently relieving them of their duties after a 3 month period. This of course is unethical but nonetheless has happened, is happening now, and will no doubt become more regular in the near future.

MP’s responses …

I contacted our MP for Corby Tom Pursglove several days ago and eventually had a response to say that he would respond in full in due course. I am still awaiting the outcome of this but will publish when received. I have also contacted Boris Johnson directly about the issues surrounding the tax legislation and the impact upon businesses both in the public and private sectors to include the NHS who do employ a vast number of contract staff, and guess what? I have received no response from Boris whatsoever. Obviously if I do get a response I shall also publish it here.

Perks of being a contractor

It seems the new legislation is designed to force contract staff to pay the same amount of tax as a permanent employee and yet without all the perks such as regular employment, paid holiday, training (for which a contractor has to pay for themselves), no attendance permitted to staff meetings, business celebrations, paid bank holidays, or even the works Christmas do!

More as the story unfolds ….

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TalkTalk’s poor customer service takes further blow

Internet Giant TalkTalk’s attempts to repair its poor reputation for customer service have suffered a blow after it topped the telecoms watchdog’s table of broadband complaints between July and September last year.

Complaints about the company’s broadband service reached the highest level in 18 months as it shut down a call centre after it discovered employees were scamming customers. TalkTalk grew suspicious in 2014 that workers were stealing customer details to convince them to hand over personal banking information. After concluding an investigation, TalkTalk said it withdrew all customer service operations in August. On Friday it claimed that this had caused “temporary disruption” to its customer care process, and was responsible for the rise in complaints to Ofcom. “That move, and a radical shift to self serve is already delivering a material improvement in customer satisfaction and we expect complaint data for 2018 to reduce significantly,” a spokesman said.

TalkTalk has been haunted by a reputation for poor customer service since buying Tiscali UK in 2009. Until the latest set of data, customer satisfaction had appeared to be improving, dropping to second place for broadband complaints between April and June last year. Ofcom’s latest data takes into account the number of customer complaints it has received and found that TalkTalk generated the highest volume per 100,000 customers.

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Kevin Edwards

iOS Update will let you stop Apple from slowing down your iPhone

Credit Apple - Kevin Edwards
Credit: Apple

Having apologised and offered replacement batteries at a discount, Apple has now said it will make a major change to iOS to let people disable throttling. Future updates to Apple’s iOS software will include an option to disable throttling on iPhones. The move is Apple’s latest attempt to appease angry users after news broke in December that it had been intentionally slowing down old iPhonnes to maintain battery life. More than 30 lawsuits have been filed in the US and one lawsuit is underway in South Korea. There’s also an official investigation from French prosecutors. Having apologised and offered replacement batteries at a discount, Apple has now said it will make a major change to iOS to let people disable throttling.

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Kevin Edwards

Firms buy insurance ‘in mad panic’ as cyber-attacks soar

Many firms are panicking as cyber-attacks and regulatory fines threaten profitsMad Panic over Insurance as Cyber-Attacks soar.

With cyber-attacks increasing in frequency and severity, many companies are turning to insurance to cover their mounting losses. But can insurers quantify the risk accurately and could insurance lead to corporate complacency? Many firms feel like they’re under siege. Cyber-attacks are coming thick and fast and the tools at the hackers’ disposal seem to be getting more, not less, powerful.

Estimated annual losses from cyber crime now top $400bn (£291bn), according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And the cost in lost productivity of last year’s WannaCry ransomware attack alone was estimated at $4bn.

So many businesses are buying cyber insurance “in a mad panic”, warns Charl van der Walt of SecureData, a cyber-security company.

“Unfortunately this will mean that businesses of all sizes will seek out the minimum cyber-security investment laid out by insurers, government, and regulators, rather than going above and beyond to protect their own, and their customers’, data.”

Ransomware attacks, whereby criminals break in to your network, encrypt all your data, then demand money in return for the decryption key, are particularly virulent. Firms have even been stocking up on Bitcoins – the hackers’ cryptocurrency payment of choice – to pay the ransoms.

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