The number of UK self-employed workers fell by 183,000 in the three months to October 2020, meaning that the UK has now seen a drop of 460,000 over the past twelve months. The latest figures put the number of self-employed people in the UK at 4,496,000.
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) said that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) numbers illustrated a “year of relentless decline” in the freelance sector.
The IPSE also asserted that the figures show the government must begin to seriously consider the recent Directors Income Support Scheme proposal put forward by the Federation of Small Businesses, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Forgotten Limited.
IPSE Director of Policy Andy Chamberlain commented: “Today’s labour market statistics show a further drastic fall in the number of self-employed in the UK. They reflect the end of a year of relentless decline for the sector, as self-employed people have been financially devastated by the pandemic and, in many cases, simply not received the support they need from government.”
“After growing continuously for over ten years, in 2020 the self-employed sector has slumped as hundreds of thousands have been pushed out, with many ending up in the benefits system. The continuing decline of the sector shows the urgent need for the government to look again at support for excluded groups such as the newly self-employed and sole directors of limited companies.”
“We and other organisations have proposed numerous solutions to support these groups: government must urgently look again at these to rescue the many excluded freelancers who are still clinging on through savings and loans. We believe government should particularly look at the Directors Income Support Scheme that has recently been proposed – to get support to this vital and so far forgotten group.”
Author: Steven English