At least 50,000 disabled self-employed people not getting the support they need from government, IPSE research finds

At least 50,000 disabled people who became self-employed last year are missing out on government support during Coronavirus, according to new research by IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed).

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The research shows that disabled self-employed people are also more likely to need financial support because in normal times, their average day rate is 12 per cent lower than freelancers who do not report having a disability. They are also more likely to find looking for work challenging (21% compared to 16%).

Disabled self-employed people are also more likely than people without disabilities to have been driven into self-employment for negative reasons such as experiencing discrimination in their previous job (14% compared to an average of 8%) and not having other employment opportunities (26% compared to 20%).

Overall, however, disabled people’s motivations for going into self-employment were still largely positive, such as having a greater control over their hours (52%), more control over their work (51%) and having a better work-life balance (47%).

There are now 662,000 disabled self-employed people in the UK, an increase of 8 per cent since 2018 and 41 per cent since 2013.

Inna Yordanova, Senior Researcher at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: “This research vividly shows the cost of the gaps in the government support. Many people who are missing out on government financial support are those who are likely to need it most. As our research uncovers, disabled self-employed people are likely to have lower earnings and to find it more difficult to get work at the best of times. During the Coronavirus crisis, they will be in particularly dire need: one of the worst groups for the government to leave out in the cold.

“There are actually likely to be even more disabled people missing out on government support than this research suggests, as it does not account for people who are working through a limited company. Making up about 14 per cent of the self-employed workforce, disabled people are a huge and important part of the freelancing community, who must not be overlooked in the Coronavirus crisis.”  

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IPSE is the leading association for contractors, consultants, interims, freelancers and the self-employed. We strive to bring our members the most comprehensive and useful range of information and services and all the latest news about what affects your business.