Govt launches self-employed survey

Thursday 24 September 2015

Under the direction of Cambridge Satchel Company entrepreneur Julie Deane, the government has launched a new survey in a bid to gain more understanding of the needs of self-employed people, and how they are contributing to the economy. In time, it is hoped that the survey will lead to recommendations on how the government can better support people who work for themselves.

The survey, which is being hosted on the website of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the Consultation Hub section, will be open for responses until November 8th.

Ms Dean explained: “It is so important for me to hear the views of those who, like me, started out on their own. I’m not just talking about the tech startups; this is for everyone from plumbers to accountants to beauticians who work for themselves.

“It’s very easy to sit at home grumbling about how things could be done better but this is your chance to have your say. I want my review to reflect the views and concerns of those who are in the thick of it; working it out on their own and trying to do something positive for themselves and their families."

She added that she had written the survey with the aim of gathering practical information that can be compiled into a list of recommendations that the government could implement, instead of being just “an academic exercise”.

Launching the survey, Ms Deane spoke of her own struggles setting up a business, which ranged from sourcing materials to finding the right staff. Many other self-employed people have reported challenges with managing their finances and legal paperwork, along with other common difficulties.

The survey is designed to focus on people who are struggling to navigate the current system, especially women who are trying to run their own business while raising a family.

Chris Bryce, the chief executive of the Independent Association of the Self-Employed (IPSE), welcomed the survey and said: “If you are self-employed you face some very real and practical challenges to making your business a success. It’s good to see the government sticking to the promise it made ahead of the election and launching an independent review of self-employment in the UK. From engineers to IT contractors, builders to graphic designers, the 4.5 million people who work for themselves deserve to have their voice heard.”

He also encouraged those who were considering becoming self-employed to respond to the survey, in the hope that this would help to gather more information on what is stopping people making the move into working for themselves. Areas that he identified where the survey could be a spur to real change were mortgages, maternity leave and saving for retirement.

A report based on the survey’s results is set to be delivered to the government at the beginning of 2016, and it is expected that the findings will be the basis of future government policies for entrepreneurs and the self-employed.

By Victoria McDonnell

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