The continuing rise of self-employment shown in the labour market statistics reflects the new opportunities it is creating, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has said.
Self-employment is allowing more and more people who might not otherwise be able to – especially the over-65s, the disabled and new parents – to enter the workforce.
The labour market statistics, released by the ONS, show self-employment has risen by 9,000 compared to the same time last year, putting the total number of self-employed in the UK at 4.81 million. The number of employees also grew significantly.
Tom Purvis, IPSE’s economic and policy advisor, said:
“The rise and rise of self-employment shows that this revolution in the labour market is here to stay. Since the financial crash, more and more people have seen the flexibility and control this way of working can offer and taken the leap into self-employment.
“One of the biggest groups to benefit from this revolution is people who might otherwise struggle to enter the workforce: most notably, over-65s, new parents and the disabled. For these people, self-employment is an essential lifeline – a means to a stable, decent income and a place in the UK’s labour market. And the government is reaping the rewards of this revolution – through higher growth and greater tax revenues.
“What the government must do now is avoid measures that would make entering self-employment harder. Not least: extending the changes to IR35 into the private sector. The changes to IR35 tax law have already caused serious problems in the public sector. Extending them to the private sector would be nothing short of a disaster – for businesses, the economy and for the many people who rely on self-employment as a route into the labour market.”