Freelancing and self-employment took a step up in the credibility stakes this week thanks to ringing endorsements from two high-profile politicians, each at the opposite ends of the political spectrum.
On Monday, Ian Murray, shadow business minister and Labour MP for Edinburgh South, threw his support behind 15 for 15, a nationwide search to find the UK’s brightest self-employed professionals.
Reflecting on the “exciting” competition, Mr Murray welcomed it for being designed to highlight the very best of those individuals who have grown their business and been entrepreneurial.
“It is incredibly rewarding being self-employed and there are significant advantages”, the MP added. “I look forward to seeing the winners of the 15 for 2015 competition.”
Not wanting to be outdone, Conservative MP Esther McVey then used an interview with a national paper to assert that self-employment should be given the same status and respect in schools as the university route into employment.
The newly appointed employment minister told the Daily Telegraph: “If you have this seed, this idea, this creativity, you want to set up a business, then that is what you should do”.
She added: “That is what we should be doing; liberating everyone’s potential, whether it’s a self-made individual, whether it’s someone taking the university route, whether it’s the apprenticeship route. They are all equal and good and worthwhile.”
Supporters of the self-employed, such as freelancers’ body PCG, welcomed both politicians’ comments, particularly as unions have claimed that many self-employed jobs are of low quality and are being taken by people who find conventional work.
“Self-employment is a positive career option for everyone including young people,” reflected PCG’s Simon McVicker. “Ms McVey is right to promote this way of working as a positive option for all.”
The body added that for independent work to receive support from members of parliament was proof that the nation “is really starting to get behind Britain’s self-employed army.”