What can the government do to help the self-employed?

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It’s no secret that making the leap to self-employment is a fantastic opportunity for UK professionals to take more control of their own destiny.

The list of benefits is seemingly endless, ranging from an enhanced work/life balance, increased tax efficiency and the chance to avoid office politics. Yet despite these plus points, new figures show that the number of people choosing to become self-employed has dropped by a staggering 131,000 over the past year.

So why has this happened?

The association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) seemed to lay the blame squarely at the government, claiming measures included in last month’s Summer Budget had “the potential to restrict the growth of the self-employed.” It urged ministers to rethink plans that could “be detrimental to an important part of the labour market.”

With this in mind, we asked our LinkedIn group members to tell us what they think the government should do to support the self-employed.

Here’s what they said:

Financial advice and assistance was number one on the wishlist, with many contractors voicing concerns about securing a mortgage or additional credit. One participant said: “Getting a mortgage when self-employed can be really difficult and is a big reason many people I know are reluctant to work for themselves.”

Another contractor cited difficulty with obtaining a credit card. They said: “In the past, I've been refused a credit card with a £1,000 limit despite my income being easily within the specified range. Had I been in a PAYE job or had 3 years of accounts it would have been a different story.”

Continuing the financial theme, another participant suggested that changing the VAT system would help boost the self-employed. They called for the VAT threshold to be altered so that it increases in increments over five years, rather than having to charge 20% all at once.

Have your say

Are you self-employed? How do you think the government could support you more? Join in the discussion on Twitter.