Government told it should thank the self-employed

Self-employment has “been doing the heavy lifting” for the UK labour market for at least the last decade, a freelance trade body in receipt of official stats has discovered.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed said the stats from the ONS showed self-employment to now be stabilising at approximately 4.8million.

While the headline self-employed number is usually the stat which interests IPSE the most, it is two other Office of National Statistics figures which seem to tell a bigger story about freelancing.

Firstly, despite the decrease in self-employment in the current period, the growth in the freelance ranks over the last 10 years is in the order of a massive 2.5million extra people.

Secondly, added the association, the overall employment rate for August to October 2018 has climbed to the joint-highest level since records began in 1971, at an unprecedented 75.7%.

“While self-employment may now be stable, it was its enormous rise over the last ten years that took overall employment levels to these heights,” says IPSE’s Andy Chamberlain.

“When the figures [from the ONS] are analysed, it becomes clear that the extraordinary rise in self-employment has made a huge contribution.”

IPSE said the resulting low unemployment – which has been consistent – will provide great relief to the “embattled” government, as it “struggles to keep afloat” amid ‘Brexit chaos.’

So Mr Chamberlain believes the government should actually be thanking the self-employed, by “reconsidering its policies on IR35 and Universal Credit, both of which will unfairly disadvantage people who have taken the initiative and struck out on their own,” he said.

 

13th December 2018

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