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IPSE: Hostile government policies drive self-employment down again

IPSE has said the continued drop in self-employed numbers revealed today is caused by damaging government policies and uncertainty about Brexit.

With unemployment also rising for the first time since January 2018, IPSE has also warned that policymakers should take careful note of what could be early signs of a worrying trend.

ONS figures out today show self-employment has fallen by 59,000 to 4.75million, while unemployment has risen to 4.1 per cent (from 4%). There is positive news in terms of wages, however, which are up 3.2 per cent – although this is still below pre-2008 levels.

Andy Chamberlain, Deputy Director of Policy at IPSE, comments: “The self-employed are suffering from a decline in confidence and earnings. We are hearing a very clear message from our members that this is due to government policy.

“Confidence in the economy overall remains very low, which is due in no small measure to the lack of a clear plan for the UK’s exit from the EU.

“Against this backdrop, it is unsurprising that the total number of self-employed is falling. The fact that unemployment has also risen should be a red flag to policymakers. If the self-employed are discouraged from working for themselves by ill-judged policies like IR35 and Universal Credit, it is likely to mean further rises in unemployment.”

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