In General

A leading pressure group representing freelancing and contracting professionals has launched a striking campaign for the UK General Election entitled “Don’t Strangle the Self-Employed.”

Yesterday, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) unveiled the first ads for this new campaign in London. Aimed at political parties in the run-up to the election on 8th June, the campaign will be driven across the capital as well as Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.

IPSE intends to give the self-employed “a voice from Land’s End to John O’Groats” with the campaign, at the heart of which is the organisation’s new manifesto, A Contract with the Self-Employed.

The manifesto underlines the sheer magnitude of the number of people choosing to work as freelancing and contracting professionals under the generic rubric “self-employed” as well as the vast contributions that they have been making to the UK’s economic fortunes by prominently highlighting the following key facts:

  • 8 million people are now working for themselves in the UK, a figure that represents one in seven of all people currently in work.
  • Between them, these flexible workers contribute a staggering £255 billion to the UK economy, a figure that amounts to paying for the entire NHS twice over.

The manifesto contains a series of measures designed to ensure that those working in the expanding self-employed sector of the UK workforce have the fairness and support that they need to flourish and continue making their contributions. It echoes demands from Umbrella Company trade association PRISM for a root-and-branch thorough review of the UK’s outdated and unfair tax system, which IPSE says should be chaired by an independent expert.

It also identifies four key principles that should inform a new statutory definition of genuinely independent freelancing and contracting. Genuinely self-employed contractors are characterised by:

  • Autonomy in work
  • Control over working arrangements
  • Taking on business risk
  • Level of independence from clients

A core message in the manifesto is that with the outcome of Brexit negotiations still unknown and with much uncertainty on the economic horizon, only the genuinely self-employed can provide the economy with the flexibility that it needs to navigate the future.

IPSE CEO Chris Bryce said: “The self-employed will not be silenced. It’s not just that they make up 15% of our workforce: they’re also one of the most dynamic and productive sectors of our economy, and their contribution will be vital in the years ahead.

“IPSE has laid out firm recommendations for how the next Government can support the self-employed. Knee-jerk tax hikes aren’t the answer – instead, we need a comprehensive review of the UK pension and tax systems to ensure a fair deal for the self-employed.”

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