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IPSE warns of uncertainly for self-employed

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has repeated its call for the government to offer more support to self-employed people after new figures revealed a dramatic decline in the sector.

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Some 4.5 million people now work as self-employed, compared to 5.1 million at the end of last year

A report from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of self-employed people in the UK dropped by 174,000 between April and June, and July and September this year.

This means there are currently 4.5 million people now working as self-employed, compared to 5.1 million at the end of 2019, with many having been impacted by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

For this reason, the IPSE has again urged the government to offer more financial support to those in the self-employed sector, saying the current help available does not go far enough, as many businesses are not eligible to access funding.

Derek Cribb, chief executive of the IPSE, comments: “The continuing drop in the number of self-employed in the UK shows that the glaring gaps in support are leading to long-term, avoidable decline in the sector.

Government must work quickly to stem this flow by urgently getting support to the left-behind self-employed groups

“This is deeply concerning not only for the self-employed themselves, but also for the UK’s prospects in the coming recession.

“After the 2008 financial crisis, it was rising self-employed numbers that kept unemployment comparatively low – as uncertain employers looked for more flexible expertise instead of permanent employees.

“Now, this does not appear to be happening and the self-employed sector is in precipitous decline.”

“Government must work quickly to stem this flow by urgently getting support to the left-behind self-employed groups.

“Extending support would be a cost now, yes, but it would be a temporary cost during the pandemic, to hold back an even worse unemployment problem later.”

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