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5 million votes up for grabs – how can political parties win over the self-employed in the 2019 general election?

3-minute read

Lauren Hellicar

13 November 2019

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IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, has released its top five policy priorities political parties should focus on to win the self-employed vote.

There are five million self-employed people in the UK, which is equal to one in seven working people, according to IPSE. What’s more, self-employment is worth £305 billion to the economy.

So you’d think this would encourage the main political parties to listen to what those who work for themselves want from their government.

The Association’s 28-page manifesto details what the next government should do to safeguard the future of freelancing.

Key points highlighted in the document include:

  • a Brexit deal that works for the self-employed
  • a secure financial future for freelancers
  • a fair deal on rights and support
  • making the UK the best place to be a business

IPSE’s top five policy priorities for the next government

All five policy recommendations are important subjects for the self-employed and small business owners – and ones, as you’ll see below, that we’ve covered before here at Simply Business.

1. Build a modern tax system

“Our complex tax system is out of date and penalises the self-employed: we recommend a full wide-ranging review of self-employed and small business taxation to unleash the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

Back in May we looked into how the Simple Consolidated Tax (SCT) could make life easier for the self-employed, freelancers and small businesses.

Head of Business at the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), Nick King is the author of the SCT report. In it, he argues that the SCT “removes the need for the overwhelming amounts of paperwork and makes life so much simpler for small business owners”.

According to CPS calculations, if 250,000 companies opted in to the SCT, the total administration saving could add up to £450 million. On top of that, if business owners were able to give 10 per cent more of their time to helping their companies grow, the economy could receive a £4.7bn boost.

2. End the culture of late payment

“Stop freelancers losing large amounts of time and money each year to the UK’s poor payment culture by giving the Small Business Commissioner powers to fine and ‘name and shame’ late payers.”

Also in May, we reported that 50,000 small businesses fold due to late payments each year.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called it a national scandal and estimates that the cost of late payments to the UK economy is as much as £2.5 billion.

If this is a problem you can relate to, you can download our simple late payment letter template to help tackle this awkward issue with your customers. Follow the link and you’ll also find tips on how to deal with the problem, including what government help's available.

3. Identify solutions for saving in later life

“Prevent a self-employed savings crisis by working with industry to find tailored products for freelancers, such as the sidecar pension, to help them put money away for retirement.”

If you’re in need of some help to figure out which pension product could work best for you, read our complete guide to self-employed pensions.

Investing in property for later life financial planning may also be something self-employed people will want to consider. In our article, we discuss an interesting report from the Equity Release Council.

4. Update freelancers’ parental rights

“Extend Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to the self-employed and take action on maternity/paternity pay, so that parents have equal opportunities to care for their children and build their own businesses.”

We’ve also previously investigated the disparity in rights between employed workers and the self-employed when it comes to parental rights. Read our article on the bill Tracy Brabin, MP, brought before Parliament, which would extend shared parental leave to the self-employed.

To help you understand your rights, we’ve also got guides on paternity and maternity pay for the self-employed.

5. Incentivise workhubs to boost the high street

“Co-working spaces incubate small businesses, innovation and collaboration at the heart of communities — incentivising the use of empty premises for workhubs through exemptions in business rates could help revive Britain’s struggling high streets.”

We’ve shone the spotlight on the benefits of working from co-working spaces before. You can read more about it in our articles on ways the government could improve life for the UK’s freelancers and golden rules for a less stressful self-employed working life.

Have IPSE got it right?

  • Does the current tax system work?
  • Could there be more government support to stamp out late payment?
  • Are the options for securing your financial future fair when compared with the options of employees?
  • Should freelancers be entitled to the same maternity and paternity rights as employees?
  • What are your thoughts on working from home versus working in a shared office space with other freelancers?

Let us know in the comments below.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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