Ed Miliband took to the stage at Labour’s Manchester conference to outline his future for Britain if he were to take power. Nestled amongst attacks on Tories and plans for big banks was a commitment to support the country’s self-employed.
Miliband said: “To the growing army of our self-employed, five million working people so often the most entrepreneurial, go-getting people in our country, they don’t want special treatment, but they do deserve a fair shot.
“Two thirds have no pension. Because of the jobs they do, one in five is stopped from getting a mortgage. It is time to end this modern, 21st century discrimination. The next Labour government will ensure there are equal rights for the self-employed.”
As of yet though, no concrete plans have been revealed. Miliband’s figures are slight exaggerated as there are currently 4.59m self-employed people, but this number has been increasing over the last year.
The Labour Finance and Industry Group have already called for action on freelancers, while the Federation of Small Business has asked for political parties to not ignore the self-employed during their conferences.
In regards to Miliband’s speech Phil Orford, the Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business, had this to say on the wider implications for small business: “No one can argue with many of the central goals set out by Ed Miliband today.
“What businesses will need to see ahead of the election is more detail on how the Labour Party will support them to enable them to happen. Short-term cost cuts like those announced on business rates and energy prices are welcome but businesses are aware of other cost pressures that could take their place.
“What many small businesses won’t want are sizeable, above inflationary increases in the National Minimum Wage as they start contributing to their employees’ pensions for the first time over the next few years. Whilst political parties are free to set out their aspiration for wages, they should not undermine the Low Pay Commission’s independence in recommending the rate and should commit to accepting what that recommendation is.”