Dividing the UK’s vast self-employed population into small groups is the first step to better understanding and supporting them, a probe into the ‘future world of work’ has been told.
The parliamentary Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee also heard that without such a segmentation exercise, the state risks providing help that is unnecessary.
“Only when we truly understand who the self-employed are, can we properly determine what support they need,” said freelancers’ body IPSE, responding to the committee’s inquiry.
But one instant move -- which should be made even before the segmentation -- is to provide all self-employed people with better pension provision, says IPSE’s Simon McVicker.
As policy director for IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), McVicker also thinks that all freelancers should be put on a par with permies when they temporarily stop work to have children.
“There needs to be a level playing field for the self-employed on maternity allowance,” the association said. “Fifteen per cent of the entire workforce [is now self-employed]. But employment law, and the tax system, has not yet caught up."