Conference season is almost over – how did the Parties compare and where do the self-employed stand?

Blog - Review Conservative & Labour conference - Hero image 01.jpg

It’s fair to say, it has been a turbulent conference season so far. The Liberal Democrats didn’t have a conference at all – due to the Queens’ funeral. Labour had their most successful conference since the Tony Blair era – if success is measured by poll ratings. The Conservatives’ was marred by the ongoing fallout from the mini-Budget and will be primarily remembered for the U-turn on the 45p income tax rate. We shall see what the SNP conference has in store when it takes place this weekend.

Liz Truss delivered her first conference speech as Prime Minister and was keen to assert there would be no further U-turns. Through her new approach, the conservatives will “have your back”. Acknowledging that the country has seen “stormy days”, she wanted to reassure business, championing their role in providing profit, jobs and “powering our success”. 

It wasn’t a particularly dramatic speech - perhaps deliberately so after the fireworks of the mini-Budget – but it wasn’t a disaster either. There was some heckling by protesters, but nothing particularly out of the ordinary. There were no new policy announcements and no further mention of IR35 which is probably a good thing for now. The last thing we need is a U-turn on the decision to repeal the public and private sector reforms that have resulted in thousands of contractors overpaying tax.

The ‘low tax party’ leader promised to “get Britain moving” and to “defeat the enemies of enterprise”, accusing the SNP and Labour Party of lacking plan and vision. There was a strong emphasis on breaking high tax and low growth by lowering the tax burden and ensuring that Britain stays open for business. You would think this kind of rhetoric would energise the Tory faithful, but in truth it did little to lift the gloom which clouds over the Party.

The mood at the Labour Party Conference, by comparison, was positively optimistic. After attacking the government, Kier Starmer said that Labour is once again “the political wing of the British people”. The conference slogan advocated for “a fairer, greener Britain”, dedicated to putting the economy at the heart of the pledge, with an obvious focus on growth.

Labour’s Conference confirmed that the Party is once more a credible candidate to form the next government. The polls are in their favour. If an election took place today, it is likely – but by no means certain - that Starmer would replace Truss in No.10. It is imperative, therefore, that IPSE continues to build it ties with Labour, and we are doing so.

IPSE has no allegiance to any Party. For us, the most important thing from any conference is a sense that a Party understands the vital contribution that those who work for themselves make to our labour market, our economy and our society. We didn’t really get that this year – though, SNP if you are reading this – you still have a chance! We still need someone to grasp the nettle of employment status and stand up for those who strike out on their own. We are determined to keep pushing until we get this message across.


Need more help? Self-employment often means having to navigate lots of different websites with no clear source of truth. As the only not-for profit focused on self-employment, IPSE provides impartial and relevant advice on the topics that matter to you.

IPSE Advice


IPSE fights for what is right for you and your business. We campaign to Government and industry leaders to build a better world so you can grow your business and be happy and healthy in your everyday life.

IPSE Campaign hub

Meet the author

Elizabeth Seymour

Communications Adviser