How you responded to our survey on the cost-of-living crisis

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Over the past few months, the country has been going through a severe cost-of-living crisis. Inflation has risen to its highest levels in 40 years and regular wages, excluding bonuses, have plunged by an average of 4.1 per cent on the year in the three months to June. Similarly, our research has also revealed that the majority of freelancers (83%) now expect their input costs to increase over the next 12 months.

Read how freelancers’ confidence, business debt and business costs have been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

The government has now introduced some support for energy bills, implementing a cap of £2,500 annually on household energy bills until 2024 whilst also introducing a cap on gas and electricity costs for UK businesses, charities and public sector bodies.

For more information on support with energy bills and how this will work in practice, you can read this guide from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

In response to rising costs, IPSE recently asked members, as well as the wider self-employed community, how the crisis is impacting on their freelance businesses. With freelancers still reeling from two years of pandemic uncertainty and gaps in government in support, the survey showed that many are still in a perilous position. Nine in 10 (90%) freelancers reported that they are concerned about the impact of rising inflation on their lives, whilst others were also worried about incurring debt (27.2%) and covering mortgage repayments (23.8%) during the crisis.

The results also found that over half of freelancers (50.4%) strongly believe that their day rates won’t be able to keep up with rising inflation. However, despite this, only a small minority have increased their day rates to cover increases in everyday household costs like energy bills - with four in five (80.4%) keeping their day rates charged at the exact same amount.

Concerningly, our survey also found that the cost-of-living crisis was leading to concerns about the viability of their self-employed businesses going forward. In fact, one in four freelancers (25%) reported that they were considering leaving self-employment in the next 12 months due to the current pressures of the cost-of-living crisis.

While freelancers aren’t the only group affected by the crisis, they are uniquely vulnerable to the rise in inflation. Self-employed workers were among the hardest hit by the pandemic and their incomes and businesses have still not recovered. If the cost-of-living crisis worsens, then they could suffer years of economic turbulence - without a decent chance of recovery.

Inflation could also seriously damage those freelancers on the lower end of the pay scale – that’s why we’re also calling on the government to permanently suspend the Minimum Income Floor used to determine Universal Credit payments for self-employed claimants.

Meet the author

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Joshua Toovey

Senior Research and Policy Officer