Moving – Westminster Style | Editorial
Simon Johnston, President of the Association of Relocation Professionals (ARP), shares some spectacular news. Find out how ARP works to advocate and promote the interests of employee relocation to government decision-makers, for the interests of the industry and the country.
Enter Lembit Öpik, the strong former British MP who for the past five years has been actively involved in relocation to establish a credible presence in the corridors of political power. Just as Relocation Magazine frequently hosts debate among those of us who are actively involved in relocation, Lembit is also working to have the ARP do the same in Westminster.Why is this important? Because, whether we are there, decisions will be made that will affect us. It is better that we shape these decisions proactively, rather than respond to them reactively once they have been made. Let’s be specific. There are really four areas that matter here. In order of urgency, these relate to –
- Travel restrictions in the context of covid19,
- Post-Brexit arrangements,
- The tax regime for relocations
- Developing the policies needed to make the UK a must-see destination for businesses around the world.
There is a lot of work to be done to establish a dialogue with those who set the direction of policy areas that affect resettlement.This is where Lembit’s experience comes in handy. He served for 13 years in Parliament as an MP, including as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and as National Party Leader in Wales. Lembit knows how to make a serious contribution that is both appreciated by politicians and valuable to our industry. The need to be specific, results-oriented and economically relevant is evident. How to do it is a bit more subtle. This is why we spend a lot of time planning how we approach people in office to make sure that meetings with, for example, people working on policy areas related to visas or conditions of employment know why we are meet them and how we can help them.Tax-wise, it is incorrect that offshoring, which is worth at least £ 5bn a year to the UK economy, and possibly much more, continues to operate below the tax threshold set over a quarter ago century.This makes relocation tens of thousands of pounds more expensive per employee in real terms than it was when the tax threshold and the factors behind it were put in place. The ARP makes these points patiently and firmly. We prove that the cost of not keeping costs up to date outweighs the benefit. In other words, updating the thresholds to reflect the 2021 relocation prices would generate more revenue for the Treasury than the modest increase in the thresholds themselves.It is all very demanding work. There is not a lot of glamor in the day-to-day process of contacting the big players in Parliament. Much of this is officer to agent, not president to minister. This is why Lembit’s persistence is so productive. He has the power to stay, and I certainly have the motivation to move that forward.
We have other invaluable assets that contribute to the effective functioning of our new all-party parliamentary resettlement group. The chairman of this new group, MP Sir Robert Syms, leads a large team of officers, all MPs, who actively support our work.And after? We aim for tangible and reportable progress in all four areas of our strategy. This will lead to practical improvements in the financial calculation of companies that relocate and those that manage those relocations. In addition, we aim to make progress in simplifying the visa system which helps companies transfer their top talent to the UK.Overall, there is reason to be optimistic about the prospects for success in what we do here. Working with Lembit is the perfect guide to the UK parliamentary process. Without it, it’s like going into the jungle and hoping to find your way using esteem and good fortune. Neither is an excellent recipe for modern parliamentary intervention.You can find out more about our work by contacting the ARP at https://arp-relocation.com/ – and we are always happy to receive comments, advice and suggestions. We all win by doing things right – and so does the country.Simon Johnston is President of the Association of Relocation Professionals and CEO of Icon Relocation Ltd
© 2021 Re: Locate magazine, published by Profile Locations, Spray Hill, Hastings Road, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JB. All rights reserved. This publication (or part of it) may not be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Profile Locations. Profile Locations accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of the content or opinions expressed here.