Politicians court the self-employed in election scramble

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Political parties have launched a last-ditch charm offensive to woo the self-employed, unveiling a raft of measures they believe will secure the entrepreneurial vote.

Five of the six main parties submitted their plans to the association for Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), detailing what actions they would take if they emerge victorious. Labour was the notable absentee, with critics calling the snub a “left hook” to the self-employed.

The Conservatives acknowledged that the lack of maternity benefits was a “concern” for many freelancers. The party promised to look into ways to support the self-employed, including the establishment of a new regulatory body to police the Prompt Payment Code.

Meanwhile, their coalition partners promised to have independent professionals “at the heart of the next government’s agenda.” The Lib Dems claimed they would ensure that the regulatory and tax environment is as “pro business as possible” and pledged to complete the rollout of high speed broadband to 99% of the UK.

The Green Party said it would legislate to ensure the self-employed were paid on time, while also making unemployment pay available to all. It promised to offer independent professionals free childcare during school hours for children aged one to five, and to oblige BT to provide high speed broadband infrastructure to every small business.

UKIP attempted to woo the self-employed by promising to remove the necessity for small firms bidding for public sector contracts to demonstrate compliance in areas deemed irrelevant. It vowed to protect independent professionals from “onerous” regulations by leading the UK out of Europe.

The SNP said it would always have an “open door” to freelancers and the self-employed, while remaining enthusiastic in its support for jobs and businesses. It pledged to take actions to boost competitiveness and jobs, and to tackle inequality.

Have your say

Are you self-employed? What do you think of the parties’ promises? What policies would influence your vote in the election? Which party do you think would do most to support independent professionals? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.