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04 November 2016

Supporting Scotland’s 250,000+ self-employed

business meeting 

Here’s how Scottish Government ministers can give a boost to the self-employed.

Self-employment is at record levels. Over a quarter of a million Scots earn a living through self-employment, which is more than the NHS in Scotland (161,300) or local government (242,900). The reasons are well documented

  • Independence at work
  • Opportunity to fulfil a personal vision
  • Better work/life balance

The challenges are well-known too. The self-employed can experience:

  • Income volatility (some months you make a lot, some a little)
  • Tough competition to find and secure new business
  • Difficulties in managing their own tax affairs

What some people don’t know, however, is that self-employed people are often overlooked by the current UK social security system. An independent report commissioned by the UK Government, the Deane Review, found they face “significant disadvantage” in accessing government support such as benefits and employment support. This was backed up by FSB research which found discrepancies in how self-employed people and employees access support. 

The government seems to think that everyone is employed and has employment protection, but we do notFSB member

However the Scottish Government has a unique opportunity to level the playing field for self-employed people. Next year they receive new powers over social security and they could use these to ensure there are no inequalities faced by the self-employed. 

So - for example - from next year, Ministers in Edinburgh could choose to give a real boost to self-employed new mothers and adoptive parents. They could do this by giving those that work for themselves some of the help that those in employment currently enjoy.  

Will the Scottish Government choose to level the playing field?

Find out more by reading our response to the government’s social security consultation.

Barry McCulloch is Senior Policy Advisor for FSB in Scotland

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