More work needed to ensure services sector is supported through Brexit shift

The Government’s Brexit position set out in the White Paper is a step in the right direction, but more detail is needed to ensure the services sector continues to thrive post-Brexit, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) said. 

Under the Government’s proposal, the UK would withdraw from the Single Market. This would restrict the ease of providing services into the EU for UK-based firms, which will have a major impact on the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed and freelancers who often work in highly skilled professions in the services sector.

Recent research from IPSE, undertaken by ComRes, revealed that 57% of the self-employed are concerned about the progress of negotiations, while an overwhelming majority (69%) called for continued access to the Single Market.

IPSE’s Policy Development Manager, Jordan Marshall comments:

“IPSE welcomes the fact the government has set out in more detail its objectives in negotiating our post-Brexit trading framework.

“However, we are concerned that the proposals in the White Paper would not provide enough support for our services sector, which represents 80% of the UK economy and where which the self-employed play a central part.

“Instead the Government’s White Paper seems to be based on wishful thinking that the UK will be able to negotiate a kind of agreement on access for some services, despite the lack of progress they have made in negotiations so far.

“The goal to maintain free movement for skilled workers is welcome, but more detail is needed, so we don’t end up in a situation where there are lengthy visa processes, which would be disastrous for freelancers.

“The plans for customs still appear to be incredibly complicated and would place a huge burden on HMRC and other agencies.”