Freelancers and sole traders play a vital role in the modern economy and make up a surprising number of the UK’s private businesses.

Friday 26 October 2012

Freelancers and sole traders play a vital role in the modern economy and make up a surprising number of the UK’s private businesses.

Normally when people think of companies they think of office blocks and board rooms, but figures published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shows that the make up of the private sector is far different from how many would imagine.

Indeed, the ‘Business Population Estimates 2012’ report shows the UK at present there are 4.8 million private enterprises (the highest number since records began) and of that number more than 75 per cent are sole traders or freelancers.

At the start of 2012, there were more than three million sole traders, 448,000 partnerships and 1.3 million limited companies.

Of those limited companies, around half a million are one man businesses, meaning they are freelancers and contractors.

According to Freelancer Advisor, there were around 250,000 new businesses set up last year. This was made up of a 6.5 per cent increase in limited companies and a six per cent increase in partnerships and sole traders.

The rise in people setting themselves up in business differs greatly across the country, with the majority of new enterprises being created in London and the South East.

Women in particular appear to have used the gloomy economic climate as a catalyst for going it alone in the business world.

Figures published recently by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) show that while overall unemployment figures for men have risen sharply since the start of the recession, females have bucked the trend by finding ways of working for themselves.

Indeed, the number of women working in full-time PAYE roles has fallen by 170,000 since 2008 but almost 200,000 have become self-employed.


By Victoria McDonnell

Get in touch

Please select your type of enquiry:

Brookson on Twitter