Britain has been hailed as the ‘self employment capital of Western Europe’ in a report that has been published this week which details concerns about the state of economic recovery in the UK.
Figures show that the growth in self-employment in the UK has been the fastest out of all of the countries in Western Europe over the past year. This trend is anticipated to continue when official figures are published later this month.
The amount of people who are self-employed has grown by more than 1.5 million in the past 13 years. The figure now stands at 4.5 million and self-employment now accounts for more than 15% of the labour force.
The report stated:[quote] “The UK had internationally low levels of self-employment for many years but has caught up with the EU average and, if current growth continues the UK will look much more like southern and eastern European countries, which tend to have much larger shares of self-employed workers.” [/quote]
It is estimated that around two fifths of all new jobs since 2010 have been among the self-employed. This trend has led to debate over the strength of economic recovery and has helped to strengthen the Labour party’s argument about the cost of living. Labour has accused the current Government of over selling the so-called boom of the past 18 months, given that further reports show that many self-employed people are working part time and earning a fraction of the wage that they would if they were in full time work.