Cambridge Satchel Company founder and entrepreneur Julie Deane has warned the government that the UK’s self-employed workers need more support in running their businesses, saying that they feel like “second-class citizens” in certain areas of the economy.
Deane has made a number of recommendations to the government on what additional support can be provided to the self-employed in an independent review commissioned by the government in 2015.
Self-employment is reportedly at an all-time high in the UK, with the 4.6 million self-employed people making up 15% of the country’s workforce.
The report has called on the government to try and make it more of a level playing field for the self-employed. Deane said that self-employed people “feel that the sector is treated as if it is a sector that doesn’t contribute as much or maybe they should be growing and scaling, whereas a lot of them are very happy being sole-traders or one person companies.”
The Cambridge Satchel Company founder has called for more flexible financial instruments for self-employed people, as they may find it harder to secure mortgages, insurance and pension coverage than employees.
In particular, the report urges the government to consider increasing the maternity allowance paid to self-employed people for the first six weeks, bringing it into line with the statutory pay that employees receive. It also called for a new Adoption Allowance on the same basis as the existing statutory adoption pay for employees.
“The support provided by government to those starting or extending a family should be consistent whether the beneficiary is employed or self-employed,” the report said.
James Gribben from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), said: “What we would like to see ideally is paternal leave. So maternity pay and paternity pay, though another call that’s made on this report is also for adoption pay, which is another area where the playing field is not level.
“We don’t want to see this kind of barrier in place and the way that you work shouldn’t determine the ability of somebody to adopt or not adopt.”
David Cameron has reportedly welcomed Deane’s review and promised to “carefully consider” her recommendations.