In the last year, 9/10 jobs in the UK were for self-employed people and freelance workers alone. 1 in 6 workers in the UK are registered as self-employed, that’s a lot of people in terms of numbers. A recent survey has found that the people registering as self-employed may only be doing so out of need, not want.
Unemployment is the lowest that it’s ever been in the self-employed sector in the UK. The Trades Union Congress has said that this increase is due to low pay employment rates throughout the UK. Uber and Hermes’s drivers are classed as self-employed and are not entitled to the National Living Wage, Pensions contributions or holiday and sick pay. However drivers are registering as self-employed just to get the jobs advertised by the companies.
This raises questions about the state of self-employment and whether self-employed jobs are being taken out of necessity instead of wanting them. It comes after a call for more jobs in the UK with the National Living Wage, introduced by George Osbourne back in April this year. Companies such as IKEA have taken to the scheme straight away and believe it has enhanced the work ethic of their staff throughout the UK.
Despite the questions raised about self-employment and the reasons why those types of jobs are being taken, a freelance group has hit back. Director Simon McVicker stated that there is “little evidence to suggest that the rapid growth in self-employment has been driven by people forced into this way of working. As the number of self-employed workers continues to grow, it’s essential we don’t cast this entire group as vulnerable and instead focus on ways to help the self-employed to thrive.”
It’s thought that the economy reliance on the self-employed could contribute to its downfall once we leave the EU. However, McVicker disagrees with this, saying that now is the time to support growing businesses in the face of an economic downfall – not on large companies and industries.
He also stated that the self-employed of the UK are going to save the economy post-Brexit. This will be because if the British public buys UK products, there will be no export or import tax, thus meaning that UK money will stay in the UK, creating a stronger social and economic state.
One thing for sure is that following the UK when it eventually leaves the EU, will be a cloud of uncertainty on the economy.