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Latest ONS data revealed that the total number of self-employed workers in the UK has fallen again, with the IPSE saying this shows a ‘year of relentless decline’ for the sector.

The statistics show that self-employed numbers have decreased by 183,000 since the last quarter, to 4.5 million.

Commenting on the data, Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said, “Today’s labour market statistics show a further drastic fall in the number of self-employed in the UK. They reflect the end of a year of relentless decline for the sector, as self-employed people have been financially devastated by the pandemic and, in many cases, simply not received the support they need from government.”

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Andy added, “After growing continuously for over ten years, in 2020 the self-employed sector has slumped as hundreds of thousands have been pushed out, with many ending up in the benefits system.

“The continuing decline of the sector shows the urgent need for the government to look again at support for excluded groups such as the newly self-employed and sole directors of limited companies.

“We and other organisations have proposed numerous solutions to support these groups: government must urgently look again at these to rescue the many excluded freelancers who are still clinging on through savings and loans. We believe government should particularly look at the Directors Income Support Scheme that has recently been proposed – to get support to this vital and so far forgotten group.”

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