Self-employment is a positive choice for young people and more should be done to encourage the belief that going it alone is just as valuable as going to university or working for a big company, the employment minister has said.

Ester McVey told The Telegraph that self-employment should be given the same social respect as more traditional employment routes and the Conservative Party should be championing those with the “spark” to create their own businesses.

She said:

“If you have this seed, this idea, this creativity, you want to set up a business, then that is what you should do and we as a Conservative Party should be able to support those people.

“That is what we should be doing, liberating everyone’s potential, whether it’s a self-made individual, whether it’s someone taking the university route, whether it’s the apprenticeship route. They are all equal and good and worthwhile.”

PCG, the representative body for the self-employed, has highlighted the hugely positive effect this support could have for the UK’s growing self-employed ‘army’.

Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs at PCG, said:

“It’s fantastic to see such a high-profile Government Minister coming out in support of self-employment. It is especially encouraging to hear the Minister refer to self-employment as a positive option for young people.”

The number of self-employed people has now hit 4.58 million according to ONS statistics. Research commissioned by PCG shows the number of those under the age of 29 going it alone in business has increased by 24% in recent years.

Mr McVicker continued:

“More young people are taking the brave decision to try this way of working because they recognise the huge benefits that self-employment brings. They don’t want a 9-5 job, instead they want to use their talent, enthusiasm and drive and to be free to reap the rewards of their own success.”

Miss McVey grew up in Merseyside as the daughter of a self-employed property developer. She told The Telegraph:

“For my family, the people I know, they set up their own businesses, they looked after their wives and children — it set them free.”

Photo by Igor