The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) have warned that a “disproportionate and disturbing” drop in the number of self-employed will lead to a “brittle workforce” just when, going into a recession, it needs to be at its most agile.
The comments came after the ONS survey revealed the number of self-employed fell by a record 238,000 in the second quarter of 2020.
IPSE has said the drop in self-employment is “almost certainly” because of gaps in self-employed support during the coronavirus crisis compared to the more comprehensive employee support. It also reported in its most recent Confidence Index, that self-employed quarterly incomes have dropped by 25% after a record fall in the amount of work they are able to secure.
Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE said, “In the second quarter of 2020, there was a disproportionate and disturbing slump in the number of self-employed in the UK – far more than among employees.
“This is almost certainly because of the serious gaps in the government support for the self-employed, including directors of limited companies and also the newly self-employed, who are at the most fragile stage of their careers.
“Going into a recession, we would normally expect a jump not a slump in the number of self-employed, as businesses look to the flexible expertise they offer.
“However, with government policy driving down the number of self-employed, there is a real fear the UK workforce will become brittle and rigid just when it needs to be at its most agile.”