Collaborative Working Space
What are the issues?
Workhubs create collaborative communities for freelancers and the self-employed, where they can exchange ideas and innovate. Typically providing “hot desks”, meeting rooms and high-speed broadband, many also offer services such as IT, business support and training. They are particularly beneficial for young freelancers looking to build up their businesses and develop their contact lists.
The trouble is that there are still far too few of them across the country – in part because under current regulations it can simply cost too much to run them. As a result, in some parts of the country, freelancers struggle to find the facilities they need.
What we are doing:
IPSE is working hard to promote workhubs across the country. We are calling for a range of key measures from the Government:
- Cut business rates for workhubs. Businesses with a rentable value of up to £10,000 can get 100 per cent business rates relief. But the smallest businesses – freelancers – effectively pay business rates indirectly through workhub fees. The Government should promote freelancing by removing this discrepancy and cutting business rates for workhubs.
- Support rural workhubs. The Government should work with councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships to promote the creation of workhubs in rural areas across the country. A number of pilot programmes have already shown they can be just as successful and beneficial to freelancers outside crowded cities.
- Incentivise the use of empty properties as workhubs. There are innumerable properties standing empty and unused across the country. The Government could improve productivity and innovation across the country by introducing incentives to convert them into workhubs. Councils should publish interactive maps of local empty properties on their websites – including their rateable value for business rates.
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