PCG: European elections are a chance to support self-employed

Friday 23 May 2014

The current European and local elections are an opportunity for policymakers to show their support for the self-employed, according to the PCG.

As people across the UK cast their votes, the body is looking to ensure contractors and freelancers are properly represented.

The PCG claims that the event is an opportunity to get behind people choosing to be self-employed, thereby unlocking growth in the sector.

Simon McVicker, director of policy and public affairs at the PCG, said: "By supporting self-employment locally, councillors will boost businesses in their constituencies just when they need it most. For example, by working to improve local connectivity such as broadband internet and local transport infrastructure, councils will ensure self-employed professionals can remain in touch with clients at all times – a vitally important part of 21st Century business."

He added that councilors are also in a position to boost self-employment by transforming unused council properties into community work spaces. This will give people starting a business a place in which to operate.

By giving independent professionals better support those choosing alternative ways of working will be well placed to push forward the recovery.

"Appointing an Envoy for Independent Professionals would ensure the fastest growing sector of the European Labour Market is properly represented in Brussels," Mr McVicker declared. "It is also important that independent professionals – or iPros as they are called - are visible in official statistics."

Introducing improved regulation that caters to the unique conditions of contractors and other self-employed individuals is also important to ensure this group gets a "fair deal".

Indeed, the elections can be seen as an opportunity to bring about positive change. However, many businesses view them as a risk factor.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recently found that businesses feel the European elections, the Scottish referendum and the general elections are creating a degree of uncertainty.

Sir Mike Rake, president of the CBI, recently told an audience at the organisation's annual dinner that over the next 18 months there are political alarm bells.

Indeed, with the UK's political fate somewhat up in the air, investment decisions could be affected.

This is particularly true when looking at the Scottish referendum and the current elections, as the UK's business environment is closely tied to that of Scotland and Europe.

In fact, there is an internal market of over 60 million people between England and Scotland, with trade between the two making up 65 per cent of Scotland's export market.

When it comes to the EU, Sir Mike stressed that the UK must remain part of the community to support trading and investing. "Open markets are an essential part of our open economy," he said.

Should the UK become isolated, it would be hard for the country to fulfill its potential, the CBI claims.

Whatever the outcome, it will be integral that the interests of business and the self-employed are properly protected.

As the skills shortage intensifies and more people start to explore alternative ways of working, this will become even more crucial.

By Victoria McDonnell

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