A second group that was set up to support one-person traders is asking for an official definition of self-employment -- and the self-employed -- to be unveiled by the government.
The Federation of Small Businesses, established in 1974 to help people who work for themselves, made the call to Philip Hammond ahead of Budget 2017 next month.
The federation’s call echoes that of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), which said in December that defining self-employment would bring clarity to a raft of government probes into such freelance working.
But in an appeal to Mr Hammond, the FSB said it also wants him to take other steps on March 8th to “combat moves that could disincentivise setting yourself up in business.”
Although it chose not to name those “moves,” the federation could have been referring to the April 2017 clampdown on freelance companies in the public sector or the now in-force dividend tax.
So the FSB wants social security updated, Universal Credit made responsive to fluctuating incomes (a hallmark of the self-employed), and new incentives for one-person ventures to save for retirement.
“In short, we need [measures to help] more people to set themselves up in the business, not less,” said federation chairman Mike Cherry.
“At Spring Budget 2017, our entrepreneurial culture is on the line.The government’s announcements on self-employment will be the litmus test for how pro-business it is going to be for the rest of this parliament.”
Significantly, he added that the “risk” that small business owners take “should be reflected in the tax system,” seemingly rebutting findings to the contrary from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
The IFS’s findings will likely have been noticed by the Taylor review into modern working practices, but the FSB sees the review as an opportunity, not a threat.
Mr Cherry said: “We welcomed the announcement of the Taylor Review last October and will work with government to ensure that it provides real and lasting clarity for the self-employed.”