Brexit 'now the biggest barrier to freelancers'

Britain’s Brexit decision has had a significantly adverse impact on the confidence levels of the country’s 1.91 million freelancers, a nationwide survey shows.

In fact, four in 10 freelancers say the vote to ‘leave’ the EU directly or indirectly lowered their business performance between July and September, said IPSE and Upwork which ran the survey.

Along with government fiscal policy relating to freelancers, the outcome of the EU referendum is the biggest barrier to freelancers' businesses this quarter, the joint-survey shows.

And although the June 23rd event was many months ago, about half of the freelancers (51%) said they expected Brexit to harm their business in the next twelve months.

But solutions to help restore confidence could come as early as next month, hopes Chris Bryce, chief executive of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

“Autumn Statement will be critical in returning confidence to the sector and we hope to see the Chancellor announce measures to support independent professionals,” he said. “We want a post-Brexit Britain freelancers can thrive in.”

For now though, the freelance sector is at “record low levels of business performance,” says Professor Andrew Burke of Dublin’s Trinity College, who has assessed IPSE’s historical data on member confidence.

“Prior to the [EU] referendum the freelance business sector was broadly on an upward trajectory with improving earnings and business confidence,” he said.

“Now, not only has this upward trend been reversed into a downturn but the freelance sector has dived…with all the indications that this fall has yet to bottom out.”

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31st October 2016

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