One-man bands leap by 71,000

The number of self-employed people freelancing as a full time career increased between August and October, following three straight quarters of it declining.

In fact, there were 3.25m people working full-time as self-employed in the last quarter, compared with marginally smaller numbers every quarter since November-January 2015.

Part-time self-employed workers are also on the rise, helping the total number of self-employed people to swell by 71,000 to over 4.6million.

 “The downward trend experienced earlier in the year has now been reversed,” said freelancing body IPSE, reflecting on the figures from the Office of National Statistics.

Another freelance trade group, FCSA, said it was “encouraging” to see more people going it alone, especially as there were fewer new one-man bands in the run-up to the general election in May.

Both organisaitons want the government that was elected then to actively recognise the independent workforce, and not just because it is growing.

“The contribution the self-employed make to the UK economy can’t be underestimated, as they raise more than £21billion for the exchequer each year,” said IPSE’s Chris Bryce.

“We call on Government to adopt policies that create conditions enabling even more people to begin working for themselves.”

Julia Kermode, chief executive of the FCSA, added: “Figures like these are further proof that the dynamics of work are changing…[the] government must acknowledge such trends and be mindful to support the UK's flexible workforce rather than hindering them with unhelpful legislationand red-tape.”

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