Boris Johnson salutes freelancers ahead of National Freelancers Day

Thursday 14 November 2013

London mayor Boris Johnson has published a message to freelancers across the UK, saying their “contribution to the lifeblood of our economy is immense”. His statement shows support of the freelancing community ahead of National Freelancers Day, which will be held on Thursday, November 21st. The national day of recognition will also honour contractors and entrepreneurs operating in the UK.

According to the freelancers’ association PCG, approximately 1.7 million freelancers, entrepreneurs and contractors will be celebrated on National Freelancers Day. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Ability, Aptitude and Agility’, reflecting the skills and expertise of the freelancing workforce. PCG chairman Julie Stewart said: “Considering freelancers contribute £88 billion to the UK economy every year and the number of people freelancing is up 82 per cent in the last ten years, it is vitally important to understand, appreciate, protect and support the work that they do. National Freelancers Day is the perfect way to do just that.”

The annual celebration will be held at LSO St Luke’s in London, hosted by Sue Lawley, a broadcaster and freelancer. Apprentice star Karren Brady will be the keynote speaker for the evening. A high-profile panel of experts, including Isabel Oakeshott, John Glen MP, Nick Ferrari, and Liz Barclay, will join Ms Brady for a debate regarding the impact the freelance sector has on the economy. Other prominent figures will appear at the event, including chairman of small business at the Royal Bank of Scotland, Peter Ibbetson, and business editor of Metro, Jayne Atherton. Mr Ibbetson and Ms Atherton’s appearance will be broadcast live online, where they will answer questions posed by viewers through email, Twitter and via telephone.

The event will focus on the emergence of the freelance sector and the vital role it has within the UK business sector. Other topics of discussion will also include how business leaders and decision-makers should formulate policies with regards to the freelancing community. Additionally, speakers may add a personal note to the topics by discussing their careers and personal motivations for going freelance.

Speaking on this subject, London’s mayor commented: “Taking the plunge on being a freelancer is an immense decision that can in many cases appear daunting. But it is also a choice that’s brave, and ambitious, fulfilling and rewarding.” As for the approximately 1.7 million freelancers working in Britain, Mr Johnson said: “Many of you [are] propelling growth in the city I am proud to serve as Mayor. London salutes you, and so do I.”

Mr Johnson’s message has been described as “incredibly uplifting” by the director of policy and public affairs at PCG, Simon McVicker. By demonstrating a clear understanding of freelancing – its challenges, advantages and importance to the UK economy – Mr Johnson’s message is welcomed by the freelancing community. Mr McVicker added: “It’s refreshing that he also understands that the choice to go it alone can be a daunting one, recognising the personal risk that freelancers face. We salute him!”

Despite these difficulties, recent research has shown freelancing is the fastest growing sector of the European labour market.

By Victoria McDonnell

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