IPSE (the trade association formerly known as PCG) today launched their manifesto for independent professionals at a press conference in London. Designed to influence the three main political parties ahead of next year’s general election, the manifesto called the UK’s freelancers and contractors “Britain’s secret weapon”.

The number of self-employed individuals in the UK has increased significantly in recent years, and IPSE’s offering to politicians includes several measures they believe will help the UK’s burgeoning small business community thrive. Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs at IPSE said at the event:

“There are now almost five million self-employed people working in the UK which means 15% of our workforce are now choosing to earn their living in this way.

“The choice to become your own boss is a brave one, and we should be supporting those who take control of their own destiny. In our manifesto we outline the measures Government needs to take in 2015 and beyond to unleash the full potential of Britain’s independent professionals.”

These measures include appointing a dedicated Government minister for self-employment. Labour has already promised to establish a Small Business Administration if they emerge victorious in 2015, however a minister dedicated exclusively to the unique problems faced by freelancers and contractors could mean more attention is given to niche issues like IR35.

IPSE also called on politicians to back the huge amount of women and young people moving into self-employment, take more concrete action to tackle the “scourge” of late payments, enable better access to flexible, affordable office space, and establish a tax system “for the innovation-driven economy”. This system would seek to merge Income Tax and National Insurance in the long term, and immediately establish a new form of corporation – the independent professional – as an interim measure.

With the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour party conferences just around the corner, IPSE will be drumming up support for their manifesto and hoping whoever comes to power next May adopts their suggested measures.

You can download the IPSE manifesto here (PDF).

Photo by Ronald Saunders