The Federation for Small Businesses (FSB) has published a new report urging an immediate review into Welsh Government support for self-employed professionals.
More than a third (38%) of all new jobs created in Wales during the last ten years involved people going self-employed and the FSB’s report claims economic policy must change to better reflect working patterns across the country.
The ‘Going Solo’ study found that almost one-in-five (18.4%) employed professionals in rural Wales are self-employed. However, self-employment levels vary considerably in urban areas, with the number of self-employed jobs created in Neath, Port Talbot since 2007 only 8.6%.
The report claims that self-employed professionals living in urban Wales are more likely to be working on behalf of businesses or the public sector as contractors or consultants. Meanwhile, those self-employed in rural Wales are more likely to work in the primary sector i.e. industries which utilise natural resources and those in valley communities are more likely to work in the construction industry.
The report’s authors, Dr Mark Lang and Prof. Andrew Henley, have voiced concerns that blanket support programmes for self-employed individuals, offered to both graduates and non-graduates alike, may be “inefficient and ineffective” given that large concentrations of self-employed were found in south Wales valleys communities with low skills levels or no qualifications.
Janet Jones, policy chair, FSB in Wales, said: “The needs of a self-employed person in Newport would clearly differ from those of someone in Mold, and our policy-making needs to reflect this in order to be most effective.”
The FSB called on the Welsh Government to take “decisive action” to address the disparities and varying levels of support required for the self-employed throughout Wales.
In response to the study, the Welsh Government said: “Supporting entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises by creating the right environment and providing support tailored to their needs remains a key commitment.”
They also confirmed plans are afoot to outline an economic action plan before the end of the year, incorporating a number of actions to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs.
If you’re a Welsh resident and a self-employed professional or thinking of going self-employed, your local TaxAssist Accountant can offer personal guidance and support tailored to all your financial queries about taking the plunge. To arrange an initial consultation with your nearest TaxAssist Accountant in Wales call us today on 0800 0523 555 or drop us a line using our online enquiry form.