Self-employment drives the economy - so give it the backbone it deserves

Posted On: 
31st May 2017

4.8 million self-employed are at the forefront of progression in the UK's rapidly evolving labour market, says IPSE CEO Chris Bryce.

IPSE argues that a new tax system is a needed to reflect the self-employment boom in the UK economy.

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, is delighted to release our manifesto: A Contract with the Self-Employed. Our manifesto supports the risk-takers, rewards the go-getters, and champion the innovators – the self-employed; those who are driving the economy, stimulating growth and adding flexibility to the UK.

Our manifesto, which will form the basis of our engagement with Westminster over the next five years, details all the policies we want to see the incoming government implement - irrelevant of next week’s election outcome.

IPSE will ensure the self-employed have a voice and remain central in the government’s plans for our immediate and long-term future. In a rapidly evolving labour market, the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed are at the forefront of progression. They are our today, and they are our future.

They are recent graduates, leaving university with a big idea; they are working mums, proving that family commitments are no longer constraints; they are skilled contractors, adding their expertise to countless projects; and they are the semi-retired, supplementing their pension with a lifelong passion project.

However, they can’t do it without support or a solid platform from which they can flourish – that’s where IPSE comes in. This manifesto therefore, gives them the support they need, the skills they require and the infrastructure they deserve.

Our manifesto has resonated in the past, with the previous Conservative government adopting our calls for a small business commissioner and moving towards fairer parental benefits. And from 9 June, when the new government occupies Downing Street and visions for the UK’s next five years are unfurled, we want our new manifesto to resonate again.

In conjunction with the ongoing Taylor Review into modern employment practices, our manifesto calls for a statutory definition of self-employment to end widespread confusion and ensure working for yourself remains an attractive and attainable career choice.

We have called for strategic review of the tax system – which, in its current state, is based upon the traditional employer/employee model. As self-employment booms, the government needs to supplement this 21st century way of working with a fairer, more efficient, 21st century tax system. 

Included in this review, we have asked the government to make careful considerations before rolling out IR35 measures in the private sector, create a bespoke tax system for freelancers – the Freelancer Limited Company (FLC) - simplify Making Tax Digital and maintain the current rate of NICs.

IPSE also wants to see improved pension provisions, fairer parental benefits and improved access to the Lifetime ISA. We want to see more tax-deductible training for new skills and further integration of self-employment and enterprise education in curriculums.

Our manifesto also calls for improved infrastructure, faster broadband nationwide, incentivised use of workhubs and more powers for the small business commissioner.

A Contract with the Self-Employed is just the beginning of our engagement with policy makers. We will be working tirelessly over the coming weeks, months and years to ensure the government delivers on the calls set out in this manifesto and self-employment is given that backbone it deserves.

You can read IPSE's key asks for the next Government here