The electoral impact of the UK’s self-employed and professional contracting community has been highlighted by a new poll revealing that nearly nine out of ten freelancers intend to vote at the next general election.

The survey of Umbrella Company employees, contractors and other freelancers was commissioned by IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, and it found that 88% of the respondents are likely to vote. A 4.6 million-strong army of voters should, IPSE claims, become a key area of interest for campaigning politicians as the May 2015 general election approaches.

Commenting on the research, IPSE’s director of policy and external affairs, Simon McVicker, said that politicians should be taking the “freelance vote” exceptionally seriously in the run-up to the next general election. There are now millions of people striking out as individual independent freelancers, he added, and the next government could represent the difference between success and failure for many of them.

Mr McVicker continued: “In our new manifesto, we have outlined a series of bold yet realistic policies that will help independent professionals from all industries to get on and be successful. A promise from any of the parties to appoint a minister for self-employment to champion the sector would go a long way to convincing independent professionals that policy makers are serious about helping microbusinesses.”

Mr McVicker’s views on this issue coincide with freelancer campaigner Philip Ross, who argued for a minister for freelancing in a recent report he co-authored with members of the Labour party’s Finance and Industry Group.

Freelancing and contracting, it seems, is becoming far more difficult for politicians to ignore.

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