Self employment MP criticises Labour Party

Friday 6 March 2015

Self employment ambassador for the government David Morris, has criticised the Labour Party for not recognising the importance of the self employed to the economy in the UK.

Mr Morris said he was "sad" that the Labour Party described the rise in people becoming self employed as "a failure in the labour market". He said that the party should, instead, "embrace it, purely and simply because it is better for us all".

Indeed, the self employment sector, which includes sole traders, limited companies and contractors, has been growing and increasing in prevalence in the labour market. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the portion of self employed people in the labour market is the highest that has been seen since records began.

Recently, the Labour Party published A Better Plan for Prosperity, which was intended to be a strategy to drive the success of working families and businesses. It suggested that the increase in people who are self employed could be a result of growing insecurity in the labour market.

Mr Morris responded by saying that the Labour Party's opinion of the self employment sector was "quite wrong".

He said: "The self-employment sector in this country accounts for 760,000 new businesses created since 2010, which shows that the country has an entrepreneurial spirit, with huge advantages for taxation. I hold out an olive branch to the Opposition and ask them to embrace it, purely and simply because it is better for us all, irrespective of political party."

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) responded to Mr Morris' comments by saying that it shares his concerns.

Director of policy and external affairs at IPSE Simon McVicker explained how the organisation had been engaging with the Labour Party a lot over the last two years, discussing self employment and businesses made up by one person. He said that he thought there was a good narrative that the Labour Party could have put into their report about the self employed, putting it in a more positive light.

Mr McVicker said: "We are deeply disappointed in their business manifesto for the election, which has not offered any encouraging or positive words about the phenomenal rise we have seen in self-employment over the last few years."

He says that, by describing the portion of self employed people as a market failure, the Labour Party is overlooking the fact that the majority of people who are self employed have chosen to work in this way.

Mr McVicker added that he thought Mr Morris was correct in his criticism of the Labour Party's report and adds that he hopes a shadow cabinet minister will say something in support of the self employed before the general election.

At present, there are around 4.5 million people who are self employed. Mr McVicker says that they make a very large contribution to the UK economy and are proving to be a vital resource for UK businesses.

By Victoria McDonnell

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