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Self-employment review raises potential actions for freelancers

A review of self-employment in the UK, commissioned by Prime Minister, David Cameron, has raised ten recommendations which have the potential to make a positive impact to the bottom lines of freelancers across the country.

Two of the recommendations state that mortgage products should be made more ‘freelancer-friendly’ to support those looking to get on the property ladder, along with calls for maternity pay for the self-employed matched to that of full-time employed professionals.

But in terms of the self-employed workforce as a whole, the most significant recommendation to come out of the review was that all future government policy must take one-man bands into account.

More specifically, the report states: “Currently an Impact Assessment is carried out to calculate the impact that new policies will have on different sectors. Self-employment is not one of these sectors and it should be.”

The reasoning of the review, led by accessories entrepreneur, Julie Deane OBE, is that by factoring freelancers into the equation the government is “one step towards” creating proportionate, simple and cost-effective rules from the outset.

These aims would appear to support another of the review’s recommended actions: calling on the Government to provide a single definition of self-employment for tax and employment law purposes.

The review states that the lack of such a definition “is causing an issue”, as is the lack of a “central portal” to enable people to rely on official advice and support as a one-man band. As well as creating a site to combat “confusion”, a review of the pages on self-employment is essential.

Deane also believes more education on finance, bookkeeping and taxation is necessary and insists this should be brought into the national curriculum so that pupils who go into self-employment after full-time education benefit from basic financial training.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) voiced its disappointment that taxation as a whole was beyond the review’s scope, but hopes the document will act as suitable encouragement for the Government to listen to the needs of the self-employed community.

“We hope the recommendations will be taken up by government, as they will change the lives of the nation’s self-employed for the better,” the IPSE said.

“It’s important this thriving community has a suitable regulatory environment to grow into, which will only benefit and add to the competitiveness of our economy.”

To read the full review of the UK’s self-employment landscape, click here.

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