The number of entrepreneurs in the UK is rising sufficiently to make Britain the ‘self-employment capital’ of Western Europe, according to a new report from think-tank, IPPR.
The report revealed the UK had caught up with and surpassed the European Union (EU) average of 14 per cent of self-employed workers per nation.
The UK’s figure has increased by eight per cent in the last 12 months alone, quicker than in any other Western European country.
Indeed, around two-fifths of all new jobs since 2010 have been among the self-employed. This has sparked debate over the strength of the economic recovery and has helped shape Labour’s cost-of-living agenda following a series of reports which found many recently self-employed people are working part-time and earning a fraction of the wage of full-time employees.
Spencer Thompson, senior economic analyst at IPPR, said: “Around 2,000 people a month are moving off benefits into their own business.
“The Government’s response to the rise in self-employment has been to praise the UK’s entrepreneurial zeal, while increasingly promoting self-employment as an option to job-seekers.
“Some have seen it as a negative development, having legitimate concerns whether a lot of the new self-employed are actually employees by another name.
“The self-employed come in many shapes and sizes. Some are entrepreneurs, driven by high-growth ambitions, innovation and disruptive business models, but many are sole-traders bands simply looking to get by or small businesses happy to stay at their current level.
“Many older self-employed workers are simply working longer, due to a combination of rises in the pension age and recession-induced falls in the value of wealth stored up for retirement.”
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