Self-employed people now account for 15% of the workforce, according to a report by the government.
Currently at 4.6 million, the number of people choosing to become self-employed is growing. Despite this, there are a number of discrepancies between the support available for the self-employed and for employees.
43% of self-employed people are now over 50 and 11% are under 30. There has been a growth in the number of women choosing to become self-employed: since 2009 women have accounted for more than half of the overall growth in the sector.
The research, carried out by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, found that self-employed people have often experienced problems when applying for a mortgage.
The report makes a number of suggestions:
- flexible financial solutions for mortgages, insurance products and pensions
- bringing the self-employed maternity allowance in line with statutory maternity pay for the first 6 weeks
- clarifying the definition of self-employment for tax and employment law.
Mike Cherry, policy director at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“The UK relies on millions of hard working self-employed entrepreneurs who are playing an ever more important role in our economy. They bring unbeatable flexibility to our workforce while allowing many people to realise their dream of becoming their own boss, taking real control of their working lives.
“For too long the self-employed have been frozen out of getting fair access to mortgages, insurance products and pensions.”