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Stable self-employment is key to strong labour market
by Susie Hughes at 15:06 23/04/18 (News on Business)
Recent Government statistics show that the number of self-employed people in the UK has remained stable at roughly 4.8 million.

The data also shows that overall employment has continued to grow, with 427,000 more people in work now compared to the same time last year, when employment reached a record-breaking 75.4 per cent. The figures also showed that unemployment has fallen, reaching 4.2 per cent compared to 4.7 per cent this time last year.

Tom Purvis from freelancer and self-employment group, IPSE, said: “Self-employment has grown rapidly since the financial crash, and although it hasn’t increased this month, its stability shows it is here to stay. Taken alongside the news that employment levels have risen again, this paints an undeniably positive picture of the UK labour market right now.

“Self-employment is allowing many who might not otherwise be able to – from retirees to disabled people – to make a major contribution to the UK economy. In fact, overall, the self-employed contribute no less than £271 billion to the UK economy – money that can be spent on schools, the NHS and a whole host of other important areas.

“To support this vital sector – as well as small businesses in general – IPSE and a collective of other think tanks and associations have set out ten recommendations to help the UK remain one of the best places to start a business. The recommendations will help make it simpler to start and grow a business and ensure that once small businesses are off the ground, they are paid on time and have access to Government contracts.”

Ten point plan
The Small Business Taskforce, made up of 11 organisations representing two million small firms and self-employed individuals, has set out its ten point demands to Government, which it will raise manifesto points in upcoming meetings with Ministers and policy makers.

It suggests ten recommendations which the Taskforce believes need to happen in order for the UK to remain one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business.

These are:

  • Delivering and co-ordinating new data in a way that will accurately measure the contribution small firms and self-employed individuals make to the economy and the communities in which they operate;
  • A new definition of self-employment that leads to fair taxation and a better understanding of working this way;
  • A simplified bidding processes for small firms so they can better apply for government contracts;
  • HMRC to be given more resources to process registration applications for Enterprise Investment Scheme Relief in a post-Brexit scenario;
  • Shared parental leave rights and consideration of extending free childcare hours for self-employed parents;
  • A single gateway to allow small firms to flag late payment concerns, offering four directions of travel to find a fast resolution and facilitate continued trade;
  • Model tenancy agreement for small firms wishing to test out trade on the high street and the simplification of Business Rates Relief so more can claim it successfully;
  • A group to look at how small business support can be funded post-Brexit by harnessing technology and data like Open Banking;
  • The relaxation of business rates relief for co-working spaces to allow microbusiness to collaborate, and start-ups to get a good start;
  • More awareness of entrepreneurship and start-ups in schools.

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2018

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