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Self-employed upward trend needs to be supported by government urges Russam GMS

The government needs to be aware of the rising number people working independently in Britain, a resource an interim management company says.

47% of British workers are independent workers and research by Russam GMS is urging the government to support Britain’s growing number of “self-drive workers”

Charles Russam, chairman of the company says that while the latest employment figures from the Office of National Statistics paint a positive picture of the UK jobs market, with 29.8 million people in work in Q2, the highest since records began in 1971, the figures obscure the changing composition of the UK labour force, which the government is failing to recognise.

Almost half of the UK’s working population (47%) are not full-time employees on a payroll, and it is estimated 4.4 million are self-employed, 8 million work part-time and 1.6 million are temporary workers.

Many at a senior level have plural or portfolio careers and many are working in creative industries such as technology, software design, music and media, which Russam says has immense implications for the future economic prospects of the UK.

He believes this growing number of “self-drive workers,’ is not aligned to government or EU thinking, policy making or legislation which focuses entirely on getting workers onto payrolls, fully protected and fully taxed.

He comments: “The government seems to think that when the economy improves self-employed or part-time workers will be back full-time on the payroll again. This won’t happen. We are witnessing a complete evolution in the way people work. Many people want to work independently and increasingly companies choose to employ senior business people on an interim basis because it is a cost-effective, low risk and flexible.”

Russam argues that these “self-drive workers” need practical support and policies from government to make their way of working easier. He believes that in recognising & lsquo;self-drive’ workers, savings could be made for the public purse and economic activity, innovation and entrepreneurialism in business could be encouraged, enabling the UK to keep pace with economies such as China.

According to Russam there are five key areas where “self-drive workers” need support.

Recognition - The government should recognise that self-drive workers are just as important as people employed full-time.

Easier access arrangements for competing for public sector contracts

Employment legislation - Employment legislation has become ridiculously complex and mostly driven by Europe. We are calling for a comprehensive review of how effective legislation is for employers and employees, particularly in light of the growing number of independent workers, and ensure it is fit for purpose.

Tax legislation – Companies should pay people gross and let the government take tax. This would create a true level playing field for people on and off the pay roll. It wouldn’t then matter if companies were employing an employee or independent worker.

Banks – banks/building societies should be more flexible as many independents are penalised by their status and need to produce three years of audited accounts.  In this new world, banks should check the credit worthiness of individuals based on their assets instead. With the rising number of portfolio workers the current system based on credit scoring simply won’t work as soon no one will fit into their boxes.

Russam and Angel News are co-hosting a conference In London on the 16th of October which aims to explore issues affecting independent workers.  & lsquo;The Great British Workforce revolution’ will have particular focus on how senior independent workers with portfolio careers can succeed.

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