As the number of contracting Umbrella Company employees and other independent professionals grows inexorably, a significant step has been taken towards affording them greater government recognition. The government used National Freelancers Day to announce the appointment of a ‘freelancer tsar’.

David Morris MP, a former self-employed businessman, became the Conservative member for Morecambe and Lunesdale in 2010. His appointment was welcomed by Simon McVicker, director of policy and external affairs at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), who said: “The appointment of an ambassador for our sector shows that the government are ready to take action on the issues facing the millions of people working independently across the UK. It is immensely encouraging to hear Mr Morris, MP for Morecambe & Lunesdale and a small business owner himself, will champion our cause at the very heart of government.”

Mr Morris himself described his appointment to the role as “an honour”.

The UK’s first ‘freelance tsar’, who will officially be known as the ambassador for the self-employed, was not the only announcement the government made. The minister for business, enterprise and energy, Matthew Hancock, declared that the government was now considering the possibilities for maternity pay for freelancing mothers, as the number of women choosing this work option has been steadily rising.

Responding to the news, Mr McVicker said that IPSE had called for action on maternity pay and pensions and for greater government recognition of the self-employed in its recent manifesto. He added: “We are delighted that [the] business minister, Matthew Hancock, has acted on our suggestions so enthusiastically.”

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