Entrepreneurs Alliance fights back for contractors

Wednesday 30 April 2014

The Entrepreneurs Alliance is making the case for the self-employed, following attacks by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Centre for Policy Studies.

In an open letter, the group has hit back at claims from the TUC that people are only choosing to become contractors, limited companies and sole traders because they can't find a full-time job.

The document also rebuffs statements from the Centre for Policy Studies saying that the self-employed shouldn't be considered entrepreneurs as they don't aim to take on this role by driving innovation and challenging the status quo.

In the defence of the self-employed, The Entrepreneurs Alliance maintains in the letter that people choose to start a business because they don't want a job.

The stats are there to back this up too, with over half a million people looking to start their own businesses in 2013 and three quarters of all employment growth during the last quarter coming from self-employment.

"A phrase often heard at StartUp events across the UK is ‘I've been made redundant and I'm delighted. This is the kick I needed to become my own boss'," the letter explained.

The Entrepreneurs Alliance added that over 70 per cent of new businesses are started from home, making it clear that self-employment is linked to entrepreneurship.

"They are collaborating with fellow freelancers and professionals to grow the business through outsourcing and subcontracting, as opposed to hiring staff," it was said. "This is, quite simply, the most entrepreneurial way to start and grow."

What's more, according to The Entrepreneurs Alliance, the self-employed fill gaps in the market, embrace technology and operate across borders swiftly to meet international demand levels.

"They are driving growth in the UK economy and sharing innovation with big business, as seen in the rise of accelerators and labs from brands such as John Lewis, Tesco, Telefonica and Cisco," the letter explained.

For those considering becoming self-employed, the odds are stacked in their favour too. Not only is demand on the rise as the skills shortage intensifies and the UK economy looks for growth, 99 per cent of those already working in this way are happier than when they worked for someone else. Indeed, becoming self-employed gives individuals greater control of their lives, in terms of working patterns and projects taken on.

The PCG has also hit back at recent criticisms of the self-employed. Following the statements from the TUC that growth in contractor numbers is anything but organic, chief executive of the group, declared that there is a structural change in the way that people now approach work.

He maintains that people are becoming self-employed because they want to and not because there is an unhealthy jobs market.

This is part of a "long-term phenomenon" that has taken hold in both positive and negative economic periods. This is helping the UK economy recover and is creating more jobs.

Mr Bryce claims it is unhelpful for bodies like the TUC to fight the move towards self-employment and equate it to vulnerable workers. This group needs protecting and should not be classed in the same bracket as contractors, limited companies and sole traders.

By Victoria McDonnell

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