Will A Conservative Government Recognise The Vital Importance Of Freelancers To The UK Economy?
As the sun sets on the General Election, and the UK prepares for a five-year term for a Conservative majority Government, many in the contracting community are returning to a familiar debate: are the powers that be ready to treat the issues faced by the surging numbers of freelancers and contractors with greater urgency?
Of particular concern is the likelihood of seeing a Government in power that is ready to consider self-employment, freelancing and contracting as an equal to permanent employment. The numbers of UK workers identifying themselves as self-employed is at an all-time high: 15% of the UK workforce identify themselves this way, and for many the time has come for Government policy to recognise this rich array of talented professionals fundamental to the growth seen in sectors as diverse as IT, Construction, Financial Services and Oil & Gas.
Neil Armitage Operations Director, Umbrella Accountancy Services, commented “Recently the recruitment trade body APSCo has called on the Government to take steps in familiarising itself more closely with the UK’s contracting community. Greater emphasis must be placed on giving a ministerial voice to the UK’s self-employed, and the calls for the appointment of a junior minister with a dedicated portfolio are growing stronger.
APSCo echoes sentiments found throughout the contracting landscape, citing issues such as regulatory structures to help solidify the recognition of professional contractors. The UK’s job market has fundamentally altered since the crash of 2008, and there has been serious lag in terms of political appreciation of the surge in the numbers of UK self-employed. Career contractors choose project work because of opportunity flexibility, improved working range and of course competitive rates of pay, to cite just three factors that attract people away from permanent work and into contracting and freelancing.”
Positive steps have been taken. Conservative small business policy pledges to review accessibility issues for self-employed professionals seeking mortgages, facing pension issues and the unique demands of arranging a suitable maternity and paternity framework. Many in the UK contracting community will be crossing-fingers and hoping that positive steps become concrete proposals before too long.