Training: a different tack from the government and what it means for you

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It’s finally happening! The government is consulting on how training for the self-employed is taxed. IPSE has been calling for the government to change its approach to this crucial issue for a long time, so we’re pleased it has finally taken heed.

In the Spring Statement, the government announced it was launching a consultation to gather views on extending tax relief for training to the self-employed. Employees can already access tax-free training, and if the government ultimately decides to make it tax-free for the self-employed as well, it will be a major boost not just for our members, but for independent professionals across the UK.

If the government implements this change, here are a few reasons to be excited:

1. Training would be more affordable for the self-employed

IPSE research shows the self-employed are half as likely as employees to have undertaken training in the last year. And although it’s not the only factor, the high cost of training is one of the biggest barriers. So extending the tax-free rule and therefore making training less expensive would therefore almost certainly open up skills development options for many self-employed people.

2. The government recognises the value of the self-employed

There have been a lot of concerns over the last year that the government just isn’t valuing the self-employed as it should. If it decided to make training tax-free for the self-employed, it would be a major step in the right direction, and a also suggest the government is starting to give the sector the recognition it deserves.

3. More supportive training policies are likely to follow

With the government starting to take a more positive attitude towards the self-employed, it’s likely even more supportive policies will follow, particularly ones that will open up skills development opportunities for the self-employed. IPSE is calling for a range of policy changes in this area, from raising awareness about different ways of working in schools to improving signposting to training providers. And we hope the government will pick up more of these over the coming year.

4. A gateway to higher earnings and career progression

As IPSE’s own studies have shown, opening up access to training is one of the best ways to improve conditions for the self-employed – particularly pay. When self-employed people take up training to develop their skills, it not only opens up more job opportunities for them; it also allows them to justify asking for higher fees for their work.

IPSE has played a huge role in influencing the government’s move towards opening up training options for the self-employed. But it’s not just by influencing policy that we’re improving training options for the self-employed: IPSE Academy also offers a huge range of discounted training courses. For more information, visit

Meet the author

Olaitan Ajimobi

Education and Training Officer