Self-employed an important part of solving productivity puzzle, IPSE says


Productivity is up, and the self-employed have played a major part in that, IPSE has said. ONS data released today shows that in Q1 2018, productivity grew by 0.9 per cent compared to Q1 2017.

The self-employed played a significant part in this by providing businesses across many sectors – particularly construction – with flexible, specialised labour. The productivity puzzle is far from solved, however. To continue increasing productivity, the Government must do more to support the self-employed.

Tom Purvis, IPSE’s Economic and Policy Advisor, commented: “Increasing productivity is crucial for boosting living standards across the UK. Raising productivity is particularly important for the self-employed, whose incomes have been squeezed by inflation and rising oil prices.

“The self-employed are also playing a major part in boosting productivity – especially in the construction sector. The construction sector is not only a major part of the UK economy – accounting for seven per cent of GDP – it is also the largest employer of self-employed people.

“As a report by the Centre for Research on Self-Employment shows, a key reason for this is that the self-employed significantly increase productivity in construction. The flexible, specialised labour they provide on a project-by-project basis reduces overall costs for businesses and increases productivity. With housebuilding top of the Government’s agenda, there’s clearly a major role for the self-employed to play.

“Without flexible labour, it’s not just housebuilding that would slow: productivity would fall across all sectors. To help solve the productivity puzzle then, it’s clear the Government must stand up and support highly skilled self-employed people in all industries.”

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