Govt sets up freelancers group

Monday 5 October 2015

The government has announced the creation of a new organisation to represent the interests of self-employed people in Parliament. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Self-Employment and Freelancing will be made up of MPs from different parties to ensure that a variety of views can be heard.

The group will be headed by David Morris, the Conservative MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, who was appointed as a government Ambassador for Self-Employment last year. He has personal experience in this area, as he built up a chain of hairdressing salons before being elected to Parliament.

Mr Morris said: “The self-employed and freelancers make such a difference to the economy, so it’s important to give them a strong voice in Parliament. This new All Party Group will highlight the huge contribution these 4.5 million people make to the economy and will provide a platform for their views to be heard.”

The Independent Association of the Self-Employed (IPSE) has been appointed as the group’s secretariat, and has welcomed the creation of the group as a step forward for the representation of the interests of the self-employed at the highest levels in the UK.

There are a number of key issues to discuss over the coming 12 months, including the potential impact of new HMRC expenses rules, which will come into force in April 2016, as well as changes in the most recent budget that have affected the way some self-employed people are taxed.

However, the group will also be responsible for highlighting the significant contribution that freelancers and other self-employed people make to the national economy, particularly when it comes to creating growth and job opportunities. This can then feed into finding more ways to support and encourage people who chose to work in this way, and pushing the government to take concrete action where appropriate.

IPSE’s chief executive Chris Bryce said: “Freelancers and the self-employed are a crucial part of the UK economy and this new Group will play a vital role in making sure they are represented and heard within Parliament.

“Having an All Party Group shows that politicians from across the political spectrum can get behind and support the self-employed. Our sector faces a number of significant challenges at the moment and the APPG will be a key forum for discussing solutions that work for the self-employed.”

He added: “Our sector faces a number of significant challenges at the moment and the APPG will be a key forum for discussing solutions that work for the self-employed.”

One of the organisation’s challenges will be to discover why the number of self-employed people in the UK has fallen for six consecutive months, and work out how to encourage people to adopt this way of working.

It seems it will also take a great deal of interest in the government’s survey of self-employed people, which is being led by entrepreneur Julie Deane of the Cambridge Satchel Company, and the information and recommendations her report will contain.

By Victoria McDonnell

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