Small business champion calls for higher profile for the self-employed

Esther McVey: Urged to push more self-employed people into protecting their financial future.

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry has launched new demands in support of the UK’s 4.8m self-employed people, who represent 15% of all those in work.

He said: “The UK’s self-employed community contributes a staggering £270bn to the economy annually, yet they’re still treated as an afterthought by policymakers. We’re campaigning to change that status quo.

“More needs to be done to encourage the self-employed to save for the future. Only one in five self-employed workers has a private pension – that compares to four in five employees.

“It’s vital that the Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey delivers on the promise of a pensions dashboard so savers can track their investments effectively. We also need to look at using the self-assessment process to nudge sole traders towards putting more away for the future.

“It’s encouraging to see the self-employed community going from strength to strength. It’s disappointing, though, that in so many respects they don’t receive the basic support they’re due.

“It’s remarkable that self-employed fathers are not entitled to any statutory pay for time spent with a new child. Equally, there’s no allowance for self-employed workers who are looking to adopt. This is the twenty-first century, things need to change.

“Brexit will be weighing heavy on the minds of sole traders who take-up contracts in different parts of Europe. Any additional paperwork or costs that come with crossing borders following our withdrawal could well mean losing out to competitors already based in the EU.”

FSB has this month launched the #ThinkSelfEmployed campaign dedicated to improving the prospects of UK sole traders.