Portfolio manager Bennett Brooks
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Book review: Freedom to Freelance

24th Aug 2012
Portfolio manager Bennett Brooks
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As former director and founder member of the PCG, Philip Ross is well positioned to document the rise of the PCG, its revolutionary battle against the IR35 legislation and the subsequent fallout as the organisation grew and changed, explains AccountingWEB member James Scott.

The book details the PCG’s history, from its infancy as the first true online trade association right through to the present day incarnation of the organisation, with particular focus on the group’s historic and impressive battle against legislation which it saw as unworkable and ill-conceived. 

Regardless of the reader’s personal political persuasions, it is impossible to come away from this account believing that the proposed IR35 legislation was anything other than a catastrophic failure.  Indeed, subsequent governments and administrations are yet to come up with a just and fair method of determining whether a contractor is caught by the legislation, and the issue is really no further forward than it was 15 years ago.

The reader is left with little doubt over the author’s passion and enthusiasm for his topic and it is clear that he has become something of an expert in the history and relevance of the IR35 legislation.  As such, this is an interesting, even enthralling, account of “people power” and a community’s refusal to be subjected to unfair legislation written by people who did not understand their industry.

There is however one disappointment which impacts upon the reader’s enjoyment, the book suffers from consistent spelling errors, improper punctuation and poor sentence construction – something which will hopefully be remedied for later editions.

Overall, the book may be seen as an aide memoire to contractors and advisors that were involved in the early stages of the PCG, a relevant history lesson to those that followed, and a cautionary tale to legislators who do not fully research the industries that they impact upon.

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