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Self-Employed Stability Shows Labour Market Shift is Here to Stay

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Labour market statistics show that the rise in self-employment is a permanent, not cyclical, part of the employment landscape, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has said.

This month, the number of self-employed people has remained stable at 4.8 million – 15 per cent of the UK workforce.

The number of employees also increased by 408,000 compared to the same time last year, meaning there are now 27.4 million people in work. Because of this and the continued strength of the self-employed sector, the rate of unemployment is now down from 4.5 per cent last year to 4.2 per cent.

Tom Purvis, IPSE’s Economic and Political Advisor, commented:

“These statistics show that the shift towards self-employment is truly here to stay. More people than ever are looking for flexibility in the way they work, and self-employment gives them just that.

“What is fantastic to see is that much of the growth in self-employment has come from women working full-time. Self-employment is invaluable not just for new mothers, but also because it opens up opportunities for over-65s and people with disabilities to get meaningful work.

“The Government must ensure that self-employment remains a positive option not just for these emerging groups, but for all 4.8 million self-employed across the UK. To do this, above all it must scrap its plans to extend the changes to IR35 to the private sector. This would hurt self-employed people and businesses alike – not to mention reducing productivity and weakening growth across the economy.”