The UK’s strong labour market is being driven by the self-employed, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed – IPSE – has said.
IPSE welcomed data released today by the Office for National Statistics showing that the number of people in work has risen to another record high of 32.6 million, and said a large proportion of this is down to the self-employed.
The data revealed that the number of self-employed people rose by 63,000 to 4.84 million in the last quarter of 2018.
IPSE’s Economic Policy Adviser Ryan Barnett said: “It’s excellent to see the rise in self-employment revealed in the data today. When the government celebrates the strength of the labour market, it must remember that a major part of that is down to the UK’s burgeoning self-employed sector.
“As of the end of 2018, there were 4.84 million self-employed people in the country. That’s almost 15 per cent of the workforce – nearly as much as the entire public sector.
“In a time of gloomy economic forecasts and poor GDP growth, the strength of our labour market and especially our self-employed sector is welcome good news.
“In such times, however, the Government and policymakers must give the self-employed sector the attention – and protection – it deserves.
“With Brexit uncertainty shaking the world of business, the Government should look to and protect its most productive and dynamic sectors – like the self-employed.
“Right now, freelancers and the self-employed urgently need clarity from Government on Brexit: not only taking a ‘no-deal’ off the table, but also making sure we have a financial services and immigration system that works for business.”