Almost half (44 per cent) of all self-employed workers think that Brexit will have a negative impact on their business, compared to just eight per cent who think the impact will be positive, with the younger generation feeling most concerned.
In addition, one in eight limited company workers are planning to stop freelancing and contracting when the controversial off-payroll reforms are extended to the private sector in April 2020.
The research comes from professional membership body the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) and cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent.
Other Brexit key findings revealed:
- 61 percent of self-employed people under 30, and 58 per cent of people aged 31 to 40 think Brexit will result in fewer opportunities for their business.
- Just 29 per cent of people aged 61+ shared the same concerns.
- 13 per cent of all self-employed workers are looking for freelance work overseas in anticipation of a negative Brexit impact.
- 12 per cent are considering closing down their businesses.
Julia Kermode, chief executive of FCSA said: “If the impending losses from the self-employed pool due to concerns over the impact of Brexit were not significant enough, the additional loss of at least 13 per cent of the limited company group of freelance workers due to off-payroll reforms will further restrict UK plc’s access to the necessary skills to weather the country’s ongoing uncertainty. The very workers who traditionally prop up the economy in challenging times will simply not be there in sufficient numbers.
“From our respondents we know that 67 per cent of those planning to leave freelancing due to off-payroll reforms have been in business for under five years. They are the new generation of agile entrepreneurs with all the skills we need in the future.
"Interestingly, 82 per cent of those who told us they will leave freelancing are male, which could be significant for STEM occupations in which men are more highly represented, and also where the UK already has a shortfall of skills – we cannot afford to lose them. Our country is going through some tough times just now and the working landscape for our flexible talent does not look particularly rosy – our Government needs to acknowledge that freelancers and contractors are key to our economy and need help, reassurance and certainty.”
Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “It’s clear from our research that many freelancers and contractors across the country are worried about the impact that leaving the European Union will have on the UK. But in addition to having to prepare for potential hardships that Brexit could place on the economy - and, in turn, their own businesses - they are also facing the additional challenge of proposed changes to off-payroll legislation.
“Time and again policy makers continue to ignore the fact that the self-employed have none of the employment rights or the security that comes with permanent employment. They seem to be intent on crippling what is a very important and growing part of the UK economy, at a time when the wider economic impact of Brexit will potentially leave many of these businesses at risk.
“I believe we need to be nurturing and encouraging this sector and, in particular, the younger cohort of the UK’s freelancers and contractors. They are the generation of business owners who have the skills and drive we need to be successful as a nation, regardless of when - or if - Brexit takes place.”
Further IR35 information
For more information about all aspects of IR35, including the controversial 'off-payroll' reforms see Shout99's News on IR35 section.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2019