News Comment

Sunday 19 February 2017

Policymakers can't ignore the self-employed any longer

Lorraine Courtney

Published 17/02/2016 | 02:30

'In the run up to the General Election, perhaps the self-employed can find comfort in the offers of the political parties? Not at all.'
'In the run up to the General Election, perhaps the self-employed can find comfort in the offers of the political parties? Not at all.'

According to the latest CSO data, 327,500 of us are self-employed. That's 16.9pc of total employment and lots of us trying to make a living, navigating the financial ebbs and flows. From rent-a-chair hairdressers to the owners of tech start-ups, the self-employed are everywhere.

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But our voice is scarcely being heard in the election, nor are our interests reflected in debate.

The self-employed people I know talk about how much they enjoy being their own boss, or having the flexibility to work their hours around the other things that are important in their lives, like child care or studying. The rise in this way of working shows little sign of reversing and throws up a huge number of policy questions if we want to ensure that this rapidly changing employment market doesn't leave hundreds of thousands of workers precariously standing alone at the mercy of market forces. The questions may well be there but they are not being addressed in the election.

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