November 12, 2019
IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has launched #5millionvotes, a manifesto for the 2019 General Election. The manifesto claims to highlight the size and influence of the self-employed sector in the election, as well as outlining the policies parties should adopt to secure the support of freelancers. The number of self-employed has grown enormously in the last ten years to almost 5 million. They are now 15 per cent of the workforce – almost as much as the entire public sector. Collectively, they contribute £305bn to the economy every year, which is enough to fund the NHS twice over.
IPSE’s manifesto includes 40 policy recommendations to support the self-employed, but has five key asks for political parties:
- Build a modern tax system: a full review of small business tax (including scrapping IR35 and ending the confusion over the Loan Charge) to unleash the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit.
- End the culture of late payment: give the Small Business Commissioner more powers to clamp down on late payment – including ‘naming and shaming’ and even fining the worst offenders.
- Identify solutions for saving in later life: work with industry to create products that are tailored to help the self-employed put money away for retirement.
- Update freelancers’ parental rights: Extend Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to the self-employed and give them the same paternity/maternity pay rights as employees.
- Incentivise workhubs to boost the high street: help revive Britain’s struggling high streets by incentivising the creation of workhubs in empty premises.
Simon McVicker, IPSE Director of Policy and External Affairs, said: “This will be a hugely important election for the country. Therefore, it is vital that all political parties remember that, regardless of Brexit, there are 5 million self-employed votes out there up for grabs. From building a modern tax system to ending the culture of late payment and boosting the number of co-working spaces, we believe all parties should be listening to the needs of the self-employed and outlining policies that will make a difference to them. The self-employed could prove decisive in dozens of marginal constituencies across the UK. All parties would do well to remember this and IPSE will be working hard during the campaign to get the message out there.”