Ministers urged to back the 4.5m people now working as self-employed

Self-employment in the UK topping 4.5million, as yesterday’s official figures showed, should be seized on by ministers as a reason to make society’s offerings more ‘freelance-friendly.’

Sounding this call last night, the PCG said every part of society, from banks and business support services to government and HMRC, needs to adapt to such a growing demographic.

The freelancers’ body says that, at the very least, “a level playing field” must be created between the employed and their industrious, enterprising counterparts -- the self-employed.

But what shouldn't continue, hinted PCG’s director of policy Simon McVicker, is both government and service providers seeing more people ‘going it alone’ but failing to act in response.

He said: “Every time the ONS releases new figures on the labour market, we see that the number of people in business on their own account has gone up significantly.

“I’d like to know how large that figure has to get before Britain’s self-employed people are given the backing they deserve.”

Top of the list of actions that PCG says should be taken is reform to the tax system, so the self-employed can spend less time dealing with red tape and more time generating business.

“Additionally, the government should act to support the self-employed in tackling late payments,” Mr McVicker said.

“The Prompt Payment Code needs to include tough sanctions for offenders and sign up should be compulsory for big businesses.”

He added that financial organisations, such as banks, should boost their offerings for non-employee individuals -- “crucial” if a growing chunk of the labour market is to get mortgages and access to credit.

Reflecting generally on its call for a more freelance-friendly society, the PCG explained: “We are now in the midst of a revolution in how we approach the concept of work in this country. If we want to keep up, we need to make structural changes to the institutions supporting our businesses.

“From HMRC and government through to our banks and business support services, we all need to adapt or we risk clipping the wings of the UK’s smallest businesses.”


17th April 2014

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