Self-employment stabilising welcomed
Fresh labour market statistics showing that the number of self-employed people in the UK is broadly stable at 4.8 million have been welcomed.
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) said that despite a fall of 22,000, the total number of self-employed remains close to the last count in January.
So even when taking the quarterly dip into account, there were 4.78million people working for themselves in January 2018, as there was at the same time last year.
It means almost 15% of the workforce is now freelance.
“The overall labour market picture revealed today is very positive,” said IPSE’s deputy director of policy Andy Chamberlain.
“The fact that the headline self-employment rate has remained stable at approximately 4.8 million compared to the same time last year, just confirms that the growth of this sector is here to stay.”
The association added that while “self-employment isn’t right for everybody,” the vast majority of those who ‘go it alone’ prefer it over working 9-to-5 for somebody else.
Research from IPSE also shows that being in control of their work and hours is the appeal to freelancers, allowing them to “fit their work around other aspects of their lives.”
“For example, 750,000 disabled people are self-employed, and this population is growing even faster than the overall self-employed,” Mr Chamberlain said.
“Self-employment enables many more people to make an economic contribution to the UK. The government must therefore support this vital part of the labour market. Reviewing the way Universal Credit works for self-employed claimants is one area that urgently needs to be reviewed.”