The government must give the self-employed the support they need to fully develop, according to a petition that has recently been launched by IPSE, the association that supports independent professionals and the self employed.

The petition, which will be delivered to parliament on Wednesday 19 November – National Freelancers Day 2014 – outlines a series of “bold yet realistic ways that politicians can help independent professionals.”

The demands include addressing the issue of late payments and better support for self-employed mothers – this demographic has increased by 55% over the past five years. Currently self-employed mothers are not entitled to the same statutory maternity benefits as their employed counterparts.

Chris Bryce, Chief Executive of IPSE, said:

“With backing from independent professionals nationwide, this petition can help convince our Government that if we really want to secure the UK’s future as the world’s most advanced innovation-driven economy, we need to create a microbusiness utopia right here in Britain.
“From architects and artisan bakers to writers and app developers, we are urging everyone who has started their own microbusiness to back the cause. Together, we can get decision-makers to support the brave individuals who take control of their own destiny.”
Earlier in the year, Labour pledged to create a “US-style small business administration” to support SMEs and independent professionals.
Shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, said:
“Britain is the only G8 country without a state-backed investment institution to support our small businesses – we’re going to change that.”
He said the government need to be a “better servant” for small businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure their voices are heard and their needs are represented. In order to do this, he believes powers would be taken away from Whitehall and Westminster and given to local regions.
In his speech earlier this month, David Cameron saluted Britain’s army of self-employed and small business owners, referring to them as “national heroes.” However, there are concerns that many low-paid and self-employed workers will miss out on his proposed tax cuts, which were a large part of his proposal.
Ed Miliband also focussed on the self-employed at his Labour conference. He said:
“Five million people in our country. Often the most entrepreneurial, go-getting people in Britain who have a hard, insecure life very often. You see, because of the job they do, two out of three don’t have a pension.

One in five can’t get a mortgage. They don’t want special treatment. They just want a fair shot. The task for this Labour Party is to end this 21st century modern discrimination. It is to fight and deliver equal rights for the self-employed in Britain.”

The UK’s self-employed sector currently stands at 4.6 million and, according to Chris Bryce, it has never been more important for politicians to give their support to this growing sector.
Photo by Roger Reuver