The IPSE Manifesto

Ahead of the 2015 general election, launched its manifesto to a packed press conference at the QE2 Conference Centre, Westminster.

In it, we outline the measures we feel are necessary to support the growing number of UK workers who are choosing to take the plunge into self-employment.
Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs at IPSE said:
“There are now almost five million self-employed people working in the UK which means 15% of our workforce are now choosing to earn their living in this way.
“The choice to become your own boss is a brave one, and we should be supporting those who take control of their own destiny. In our manifesto we outline the measures Government needs to take in 2015 and beyond to unleash the full potential of Britain’s independent professionals.
Appoint a Minister for self-employment
“There’s already a Minister for small business, but not for self-employment. This needs to change.
“It is vital the UK appoints a Minister for self-employment within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) with a specific focus on the needs of this group.”
Back the rise in women choosing self-employment
“Four out of ten independent professionals are women, and the number of mothers working for themselves has shot up by 55% in the last five years. 
“The main political parties must re-examine how the self-employed are treated when it comes to maternity and paternity benefits. There’s absolutely no reason why hard-working self-employed mothers should receive a different amount to employees when caring for a child.” 
Protect self-employed people from the scourge of late payment
“Clients paying late is one of the biggest issues affecting self-employed people and microbusinesses. The next government, whoever that may be, must strengthen the Prompt Payment Code and name and shame the worst offenders. 
“We need a system for small businesses to report clients who fail to pay within a reasonable timescale anonymously, so they aren’t compelled to jeopardise important relationships by sticking their heads above the parapet.”
Support the thousands of young people who want to be their own boss
“The biggest growth area in self-employment is among people aged between 18 and 30 years old, but self-employment and entrepreneurship is still overlooked on the curriculum at secondary and sixth-form level. 
“We encourage politicians to recognise the new economy of self-employment in education. It’s hugely important that young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills to decide whether they wish to enter traditional employment, or work for themselves.”
Give self-employed people affordable, flexible office space in which to flourish
“Work-hubs and co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular among the UK’s self-employed, who benefit greatly from affordable offices which allow them to network with their peers. 
“We urge politicians to incentivise local Government to repurpose empty council properties into new workhubs and simplify the planning system to allow unused commercial properties to change their use and regenerate the high street. 
“We’ve been hearing for years that the traditional high street is dead and much of the space traditionally used for retail premises is ripe for a shift to housing microbusinesses.”
A tax system for the innovation-driven economy
“IPSE’s manifesto proposes radical and far reaching reforms of the UK’s tax system. Experts have for many years criticised the way the self-employed are dealt with in the tax system, which is set up for employees or employers and not for those who work for themselves.
“IPSE suggests a full merger of National Insurance and Income Tax, simplifying the tax system for all. As an interim measure, a new corporate form for independent professionals should be created.”