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05 July 2018

Think Self-Employed - new campaign in Wales

The UK has seen huge changes to the world of work in the last decade, one of the biggest shifts has been the rise in the number of people of people who have decided to strike out on their own and move into self-employment. With the 4.8 million self-employed representing 15% of the workforce across the UK, and 176,000 of those self-employed people based in Wales, it is a group that is here to stay.

Self-employment has also played a valuable role in opening up employment to those who otherwise might not be in work. More older people, younger people, women, service leavers and others are increasingly seeing the benefits of striking out on their own, and being their own boss.

This growth has had huge benefits for many and for the wider economy. Helping to drive the record levels of employment and local economic growth - self-employment is responsible for 38% of total jobs growth in Wales over the last 10 years - and reducing economic inactivity among those who struggle in traditional, full-time employment. There is clear evidence that the vast majority of the self-employed are happier than they would be as an employee and that most start up in business out of choice, often in search of more flexibility and meaning at work.

Despite the benefits of self-employment those that choose to ‘go it alone’ face a number of challenges which have long ignored by successive governments. If the self-employed fall ill they are dependent on their own savings or lack of while sick. When they start a family self-employed mothers receive a lower level of parental support, fathers and those adopting a child receive no parental support. Their fluctuating incomes and desperate need to save for a ‘rainy day’ means they often struggle to save for retirement.

They face significant difficulties accessing mortgages and insurance products. The Universal Credit (UC) and the benefits system designed with employees in minds often lead the self-employed to be to ‘round pegs and square holes’.

The time has now come for the Government and all political parties to start thinking about the self-employed and do more to support the 4.8 million self-employed across Wales and the UK to climb higher.

Find out more about the campaign by visiting the campaign hub: