Policy Conference 2016

Unleashing the self-employed in the new economy

April 26th 2016 | London


Keynote speakers

Rt Hon Anna Soubry MP

Anna is the UK’s first Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. In this capacity her responsibilities include enterprise, competiveness and economic growth, the British Business Bank and access to finance.

She was elected to represent Broxtowe for the Conservatives in the 2010 General Election, winning the seat from Labour, and increasing her majority in 2015. Upon entering Parliament, Anna sat on the Justice Committee, and acted as Parliamentary Private Secretary for Sir Simon Burns MP as Minister of State for Health.

Anna has previously held ministerial positions in the Departments for Health and Defence, where she was responsible for Public Health and Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans respectively. Before her time in politics she was a criminal barrister and news reporter.

Bill Esterson MP

Bill Esterson is the Labour MP for Sefton Central, first elected in 2010. In the 2015 Labour reshuffle he was made Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Esterson comes from a very political background. Born in Medway in 1966, grandson of trade unionists and son of two Labour councillors, he went to Rochester Mathematical School in Kent and took a degree in mathematics and philosophy from Leeds University. He trained with a large accountancy firm and became a director of a training consultancy.

He served on Medway Council from 1995 until his election, where he chaired the social services committee and was the Labour opposition spokesman on children’s services.
He beat three candidates from the North West to the selection after the retirement of the Crosby MP Claire Curtis-Thomas.

An early supporter of Ed Miliband for the party leadership, he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg in 2011.

A very regular contributor to debates, he has spoken about local government finance, children and families, horsemeat, coastal towns, the North West economy, school building in Liverpool and academies, and has pressed for a relief road in his constituency which was first proposed in 1934.


Sue Lawley OBE

Sue's programme portfolio has always been varied, from current affairs to chat shows. ‘Nationwide’ and ‘Tonight’ were the first national television programmes she presented for the BBC – then came general elections, the Nine and Six o’clock News, ‘Question Time’, ‘Wogan’ and her own interview shows on television.

Until recently, Sue presented Radio Four’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ for eighteen years and she chaired the BBC’s Reith Lectures for the past five years.

Sue was born in the West Midlands, studied languages at Bristol University and began her career as a journalist with ‘The Western Mail & Echo’ in Cardiff and as a sub-editor and reporter with BBC Plymouth.

Declan Curry

Declan previously presented BBC's Working Lunch and was the front man for the BBCs Breakfast Business News for many years. He was also the Business Presenter on BBC News 24 since the channel's launch in 1997.

Declan used to present 'Show Me The Money' on BBC News, and a weekly programme on business and work, 'On The Money', on BBC Radio 5 Live, and a weekend show, ‘Your Money’, providing essential news and information on personal finance.

His broadcasts on Breakfast, covered a wide range of stories about business, work and money, and Declan tried to extract news and views from chief executives, trade union leaders, stock market watchers, and private investors.


Hannah Bardell MP

Hannah is currently the Minister for Parliament for Livingston Constituency and Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Business, Innovation and Skills), an opposition position she has held since October 2015.Hannah is a local lass, from mining people and her family home is in Livingston. She went to school in Livingston and Broxburn and then gained an honours degree from The University of Stirling.

Hannah’s professional experience began as a producer in commercial television with GMTV London and STV Glasgow. From there she moved to formal politics. Working for the SNP in the 2007 election campaign, Hannah created SNPtv online and managed Alex Salmond’s campaign diary. She then set up and ran Alex Salmond’s Scottish Parliament constituency office in Gordon for 3 years (2007-2010) and worked in his Westminster Banff & Buchan office. All this was during one of the most challenging times for the SNP as a minority Government and for Alex, balancing the demands of being MSP, MP and First Minister.

Hannah next worked for the American State Department as an advisor on Scottish political, social and economic matters. For the last 3 years she has worked in the Oil & Gas sector running Communications and Marketing teams across the UK, Africa & Norway for service companies Subsea 7 and Stork.

Sarah campaigned on Council, Westminster, Scottish and European elections. During the referendum she was the Deputy Leader of the Aberdeen Business for Scotland group running and managing events. 

John Glen MP

John was elected in 2010 and in his first term in Parliament spent two and a half years on the Defence Select Committee, scrutinising UK defence policy. In September 2012, he was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. In 2014, he was appointed to the No 10 Policy Board, with responsibility for home affairs and constitutional reform, a key issue in the wake of the Scottish Independence Referendum.

John is active in a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups: he chaired the APPG on Global Uncertainties and was Vice Chair of the high profile APPG on Hunger and Food Poverty. This resulted in the publication of a report at the end of 2014, and John continues to work on issues related to hunger and food poverty in his second term.

John recently completed a course with the Royal College of Defence Studies gaining a Masters degree in International Security and Strategy at King’s College London. John feels this has greatly deepened his understanding of defence policy at a national and international level.

In 2015 John was appointed PPS to Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. John also sits on the Select Committee for Work and Pensions.


David Morris MP

David was elected as Member of Parliament for Morecambe and Lunesdale, in North Lancashire in 2010 and was re-elected with an increased majority in 2015.

David was appointed the Government's first ever self-employment ambassador in November 2014 by the Prime Minister. Since then David has been working with various bodies and individuals in the self-employment sector to highlight issues they are facing within Government. David's background before being elected a Member of Parliament, was as a self-employed businessman for almost 30 years, working as a hairdresser and owning a chain of properties across the Greater Manchester area.

David is especially interested in making changes to the tax system especially in relation to IR35.

David is also the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Wales, a role he has held since 2014.  In Parliament David's main areas of interest are self-employment, small business, nuclear power, space and constitutional issues.

Jess Phillips MP

Jess Phillips is the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley. Jess has committed her life to improving the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable, and spent five years working for Women’s Aid supporting and defending women. Jess became a councillor in 2012 through the Labour Future Candidates Programme. In this role she worked tirelessly to support residents, with her work being recognised when she became Birmingham's first ever Victims Champion. Since becoming a MP in 2015, Jess has continued her fight to support those who need it the most and has been appointed to the Women and Equalities Committee and Backbench Business Committee. 

Paul Scully MP

Paul Scully was elected Member for Sutton and Cheam at the 2015 general election. Having lived in Sutton for 28 years, he was previously the Parliamentary Assistant to Alok Sharma MP between 2010 and 2012. He is a founding partner of Nudge Factory Ltd, is married and has two children, both of whom were born in the local St Helier Hospital and educated in Sutton schools. 

Paul prides himself on understanding local issues that concern his constituents; as he puts it, 'I shop in the same shops and drive on the same roads." A regular volunteer at St Helier Hospital, a school governor, a governor at SCOLA  and a former Councillor in Sutton, he has a record of standing up for local people. 

His plan to secure a better future for Sutton, Cheam & Worcester Park focuses on safeguarding opportunities for the next generation, ensuring hardworking families feel financially secure, and protecting local services to give residents the peace of mind they deserve. These values are at the core of what drives him to help his constituents. 

Paul is a member of the Petitions Committee and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London, which looks at issues such as housing and transport across the capital. Since being elected, he has also got involved in issues relating to Burma, Tamils and the British Curry Catering Industry.

Julie Deane OBE

An unlikely fashion entrepreneur, Julie Deane OBE graduated from Cambridge University in 1987, and worked as a chartered accountant before returning to the University, where she was the Fellow for Development for her college – the first female to be appointed to this role in the 650-year history of the college. At the end of 2007 Deane wanted to raise the money to move her eight-year-old daughter from a school where she was being bullied into a school where she would thrive and be happy, and came up with an idea to make traditional leather satchels for the schoolchildren of Cambridge. 

Deane invested just £600 to get the idea off the ground. The company is now a handmade-in-Britain worldwide phenomenon employing more than 130 people and selling to over 100 countries.  In December 2014, Julie was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire receiving an OBE for Services to Entrepreneurship.  In July 2015, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, asked Julie to carry out an independent review of self-employment in the UK. The report will be delivered in 2016.

Emma Jones MBE

Following a degree in Law and Japanese, Emma joined international accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where she worked in London, Leeds and Manchester offices and set up the firm’s Inward Investment practice that attracted overseas companies to locate in the UK. In 2000, bitten by the dot.com bug, Emma left the firm to start her first business, Techlocate – after 15 months, the company was successfully sold to Tenon plc.

The experience of starting, growing and selling a business from a home base gave Emma the idea for Enterprise Nation which was launched in 2006 as the home business website. The company has since expanded to become a small business community of over 75,000 people who benefit from business books, events and funding: online, in print and in person. Enterprise Nation also presents a campaigning voice to government and the media on behalf of its members.

​In March 2011 Emma was one of 8 co-founders to launch StartUp Britain, the national campaign to encourage more people to start a business and support existing businesses to grow. Over a period of 3 years (March 2011 to 2014), Emma led and managed the private sector campaign that facilitated mentoring, hosted Industry Weeks, toured the UK with entrepreneurs and experts, launched special projects such as PopUp Britain and had a critical role to play in record results of people becoming their own boss.

Laura Sandys

Laura Sandys is an innovator who seeks to challenge incumbent thinking in public policy and business in order to increase competition, productivity and creativity. She specialises in the energy, food and resource sectors, focusing on energy markets, food and energy security and resource management. She is a leading advocate of the low carbon economy, promoter of increasing demand reduction policies and active innovator in food systems policies.

In her business career, Laura founded two companies that focused on energy and the environment. Her corporate work has involved her in the Caucasus and South American as well as in many parts of Europe and the United States. In that role, she also served as an advisor to the Georgian Government on the Baku0Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, and her opinion has frequently been sought on issues relating to Russian energy.

As the Member of Parliament for Thanet South between 2010 and 2015, Laura served on the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, and subsequently became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker.

Laura established the Food Foundation, an independent policy think-tank to explore the changing challenges facing UK and international food systems. She is also a co-founder of POWERful Women, a group whose purpose is to ensure that women have equal access to senior executive positions in the energy sector.

She is Chair of the 2020 Productivity and Efficiency Commission, and a Member of Imperial College’s Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage Advisory Group, the largest research programme of its kind in the United Kingdom. 

Her commitment to Britain’s continued membership in the European Union has led her to become spokesperson for a group of ‘Euro-Realist’ MPs, known as European Mainstream. This commitment along with her active interests in the low carbon economy and food security have resulted in regular appearances on radio and television as well as frequent contributions to newspapers and through social media. 


Michel Syrett

Over the past 30 years, Michel has balanced writing pieces for leading newspapers such as The Times, Sunday Times and South China Morning Post on a freelance basis with visiting fellowships at Cranfield School of Management, the University of Hong Kong and (currently) The Roffey Park Institute. He’s researched and written about topics as varied as business leadership, innovation, ideas creation, new work patterns and people management, authoring a total of twenty books and reports. Six of these titles were commissioned by The Economist. 

Paul Allington

Paul runs The Code Guy, a software development business, and was crowned IPSE ‘Inspire’ Freelancer of the year 2015. He began by building small websites on the side for charities while he was still employed, gradually developing a network and client base – and a passion for freelancing too. The Code Guy has steadily grown to begin producing cutting-edge software and rapid prototyping for new ideas with a broad range of high-profile clients.

He’s used his winnings to develop brand new products that make a difference, with what’s left going towards improvements to his office – conveniently located at the bottom of his garden. 

Alan Midgley

Alan has 19 years’ post graduate experience in the construction and infrastructure industries.  He initially studied Civil Engineering and more recently he completed the MSc in Construction Law at King’s College London. He is accredited as a medium risk reviewer to provide project review services for the Cabinet Office and has been security cleared until 2021.

He has worked on a range of projects during his career which include a review and report to the Department of Transport on critical programme slippages for the delivery of the hybrid bill for the HS2 project; delay analysis for a £350m section of Crossrail to help recover a series of compensation events for an international joint venture; expert advisory services  on a £100m live data centre project; various delay analysis commissions and is currently providing preconstruction programme advice to a FTSE 100 house-builder on a £700m scheme in central London.

He chaired the development of the CIOB’s guide to professional standards for the Management of Time on complex construction projects, published in Q1 2011. This then led to being invited to assist the United States Government Accountability Office (the US GSAO) develop their guide to cost and schedule management (published in January 2016). He has also contributed to the CIOB’s Guide to Project Management 4th edition and sat on the panel for the 5th Edition. 

Sarah Dawkins RN, BSc (Hons), MSc

Sarah, an entrepreneurial nurse and runner-up IPSE Freelancer of the Year 2014, runs Dawkins Health Consultancy. From a background in critical care nursing, she now trains healthcare professionals at all levels, promoting wellness and improving standards.

She has been repeatedly recognised as an outstanding freelancer and Sarah’s business was branded top “Company to Watch” by the University of Hull.  Sarah also went on to meet the Prime Minister following her IPSE Awards win.  


Kelly Gilmour-Grassam

Kelly is a freelance copywriter, IPSE ‘Aspire’ Freelancer of the Year 2015, and founder of the agency Making You Content Ltd. She writes high-quality copy and gives strategic marketing advice to an impressive network of clients globally – and she’s also taken on her own freelancers for extra support. Thanks to the consistently high standard of her work, Kelly acquires most of her clients from referrals.

Kelly became passionate about self-employment when she discovered that she could travel the world and earn an income simultaneously, and she hasn’t looked back since.

John Midgley

John Midgley is the Senior Manager of Global Public Policy at Intuit. He is responsible for public policy and government relations across Intuit's international (non-US) markets, with a particular focus on Europe and Canada. He represents Intuit to policy-makers, legislators and regulators on issues covering tax, financial services and technology policy in London, Brussels and Ottawa.

John Whiting

John is the Tax Director of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), a part-time role he has held since the OTS was established. Until 2013 he was the Tax Policy Director of the Chartered Institute of Taxation; previously, he was a tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is also a non-executive director of HMRC and a Board member of Revenue Scotland.

Chris Sanger

Chris Sanger is Global Head of Tax Policy at EY. He is also Chairman of the ICAEW’s Tax Policy Committee. In addition, Chris is Chairman of the CIOT’s Management of Taxes Committee and a member of the Tax Law Review Committee of the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Chris has extensive experience in advising governments throughout the world, including as Head of Business Tax Policy at HM Treasury from 1998 to 2002.

Anita Monteith

Anita is ICAEW’s Tax Technical lead and senior policy adviser and has a particular interest in tax matters affecting small and medium sized businesses. She is closely involved with online filing developments in tax and is leading for ICAEW on the Government’s proposals to Make Tax Digital.

In 2011 she was seconded to the Government’s Treasury Select Committee to develop a set of principles for designing tax policy and continues to be retained by that committee as its Specialist Adviser on tax matters. She is currently a member of the Tax Professionals Forum which reviews the government’s policy making process. In 2013 Anita was appointed Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Committee inquiring into the use of personal service companies in the UK.

She is one of the joint editors of the Tax Faculty's weekly newswire.

Anita qualified as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, working in both tax and audit. She joined Financial Training Ltd in 1983, leaving in 1993 to set up her own consultancy.

Past chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty, and a member of the faculty main committee from 1992 to 2001, Anita was also editor of TAXline for 5 years and joint editor of TAXline Tax Planning. She continues to advise on practical tax matters as well as lecturing and contributing to major tax journals on topical issues.

Anita is a regular speaker and chairperson at conferences, appears frequently on television and radio talking about tax and is a regular on Radio 4’s Moneybox. She currently presents the Tax Faculty’s monthly TAXtalk on Wednesday series of Google hangouts which can be watched live at ICAEW.com or viewed later on Youtube.

Adrian Dixon

Adrian Dixon is a team leader in the employment status and construction industry scheme team in HMRC with responsibility for policy advice on  employment status and CIS. His team is responsible for the measure restricting travel and subsistence relief for individuals working through intermediaries. He trained as a tax inspector and over the last 30 years has worked in a variety of roles as a traditional inspector, valuing North Sea gas for Petroleum Revenue Tax and a number of technical advice and policy roles in taxes and benefits and credits and avoidance. He took up his current post in April 2013.