09 October 2014

IPSE manifesto urges better support for self-employed

IPSE, has launched a manifesto, calling on the government to make it easier to become self-employed and work as an independent professional.

In the run-up to National Freelancers Day, IPSE, the Association for Independent Professionals and the Self Employed has launched a petition to gain more support from the government for self-employed workers.

IPSE represents independent professionals such as contractors, freelancers and consultants. Their manifesto urges the government to make it easier to become self-employed and to work for yourself. It includes calls for:

  • the creation of a Minister for self-employment, to champion the rights of independent workers
  • a commitment to improving the technology infrastructure in the UK, raising connectivity
  • strengthening the prompt payment code
  • fairer taxation for self-employed workers.

IPSE will deliver its manifesto to the government on 19th November, National Freelancers Day. It is also streaming an online debate at 12.30pm on 9 October on how politicians should be helping the self-employed.

Self-employment trends

According to the Office for National Statistics, 4.8 million people are now self-employed, accounting for approximately 15% of the UK workforce. This is the highest percentage since records began 40 years ago. If this upward trend continues, the number of independent workers is forecast to surpass the number of public sector workers by the end of next year. This is a significant milestone, as the public sector is one of the largest employers in the UK.

However, the rise in the numbers of people choosing to work for themselves is mainly being attributed to fewer people leaving self-employment. Only 23% of self-employed workers returned to employment between 2009 and 2014, compared to 36% between 2004 and 2009. Plus, many independent workers are continuing to work beyond the current state pension age.

The ONS has given a snapshot of the average self-employed person. They tend to be older than employees and almost 70% are male. However, the fastest increases in independent working have been among women, particularly working mums (55% rise in the last five years) and people under 29. There has also been a rise in those aged 60 or over, suggesting that older people are turning to self-employment to supplement their pension.  

There are high numbers of independent workers in the construction industry, which was badly hit during the recession.  However, there’s also been a rise in the scientific and professional sectors, with trades such as management consultants and chartered accountants.