After so many months of uncertainty for the self-employed, a recent survey has shown that those in the sector are finally starting to feel more confident about the economy.
New research from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) and PeoplePerHour revealed that it not just contractors’ confidence that’s grown, but their earnings too.
For example, in the first quarter of 2021, average quarterly earnings stood at £20,778 – 20% up from £17,283 at the end of last year. According to the report, this rise is due to an increase in day rates and the amount of work achieved at the start of the year.
Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE, commented on the findings, “The roadmap to opening up the UK has driven a remarkable recovery in freelancers’ earnings and also their confidence in the economy. Economic confidence among freelancers is in fact now at its highest level since before Brexit. After a dark year in which they were disproportionally hit by the financial impact of the pandemic, freelancers are again seeing cause to hope.
“Amid the optimism, however, there are also lingering causes for concern. Above all, the recent changes to IR35 are clearly damaging freelancers’ confidence in the future of their businesses – not unreasonably as they see the chaos now running through the contractor hiring market. In fact, this is the first time since IPSE’s Confidence Index began in 2014 that freelancers have had less confidence in their businesses than in the economy.
“Historically, the freelance sector has always been a key driver of economic recovery and it is clearly raring to go. At the same time, however, the IR35 tax change is a blight on freelancers that is undermining them at a crucial and otherwise optimistic time. We urge the government to step in, clear up the chaos left after IR35 and launch a full review and reform of self-employed taxation. It must ensure freelancers have the confidence in their way of working to take up their vital place in our workforce and drive the UK’s economic recovery.”
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