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UK Economy Receives £145 billion Annually from Freelance Workers

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Last week, it was announced by the Centre for Research on Self-Employment that the UK economy receives £145 billion annually from freelance workers.

Many companies rely on highly specialised and skilled project workers to perform short-term work for them and a huge body of employees in the UK depend on freelance work in order to maintain their lifestyle.

The freelance workforce is especially vital for SME’s and smaller businesses who require consultants for departments such as IT, cyber-security and finance, but do not need them on a permanent basis as they are in the early stages of growth. By hiring these highly skilled employees on short-term contracts, SMEs can ensure that they are running effectively and productively, but without having to pay for full-time staff where they are not necessarily needed.

Despite the growing gig economy providing so much support to the UK economy, many are dissuaded from making the switch to freelance due to the inconsistent and late payments that are ubiquitous with freelance work.

New research from ETZ Payments into how late payments are affecting the gig economy found the following:

  • 4.5 million Brits have considered leaving or have left freelance work due to inconsistent or late payments.
  • 15% of Brits have had to turn to short-term financial solutions such as payday lenders due to inconsistent freelance payments.
  • 4 million Brits regularly miss bill payments due to not being paid on time.

Nick Woodward, CEO of ETZ Payments, offers the following commentary:

“The freelance and flexible working arena is one that is beneficial to employers, employees and, as the Centre for Research on Self-Employment found, the wider economy. Workers in the gig economy need to be nurtured, however many are worryingly being dissuaded from working in a freelance or flexible capacity due to inconsistent and late payments. In a modern technological society, these archaic payment issues should be a thing of the past. It is imperative that payment systems in the freelance workforce are updated to ensure that late payments are no longer an issue.”