IPSE warns drop in self-employed numbers show gaps in support

(2 minutes to read)

The Office for National Statistics data shows that the number of self-employed people in the UK has fallen to 4.5 million, down from 5.0 million at this time last year.

With latest ONS data showing a significant drop in the number of self-employed workers, the IPSE believes this highlights the ‘glaring gaps in support’ for the sector.

The figures revealed that the number of self-employed in the UK dropped by 174,000 between April-June and July-September 2020.

Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), commented, “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. This is deeply concerning not only for the self-employed themselves, but also for the UK’s prospects in the coming recession.”

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Cribb added, “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. Some self-employed are finding their way into full-time roles, but many others are joining the record flow into unemployment.

“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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