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Self Employment

ONSSelf-employment is now a mainstream career option and is nearly 15% of the workforce with more women in
particular starting their own businesses (Labour Market Statistics, ONS, 2015) and works well for many people.

This diagram from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) illustrates, in red, the growth of self-employment since 2008.

But self employment can be complicated, including access to benefits and saving for retirement, as well as when you’re first starting out in business. And the higher numbers of people working for themselves as a mainstream career choice has drawn attention to the lack of flexibility in today’s systems.

Self Empl by AIC 2

Citizens Advice now see more and more self-employed clients – up 50% since 2011. Nationally over 56% of our clients who ask for advice on self-employment issues earn below the national minimum wage for a 35 hour week. These clients most commonly have debt and benefit issues.

This diagram shows the top ten issues raised by Citizens Advice Cornwall self-employed clients in 2014/15.

(NB the figures in the pie diagram are the number of clients, the other numbers are Advice Issue Codes used in Citizens Advice)

As a result Citizens Advice wants to see both

  • simpler and more responsive policies that give self-employed people the security to plan and balance their lives, while developing their business; and
  • to reduce ‘bogus’ self-employment, where people whose work has all the hallmarks of employment have been classified as self-employed to reduce their employers’ costs and responsibilities.
Citizens Advice research reports

on self-employment and setting up in business include:

  • Neither one thing nor the other: research on bogus self-employment providing estimate of prevalence and economic impacts on workers, businesses and the Exchequer – SJ Jacobs, 19 August 2015.

Catch up with the national campaign here . . .

If you are looking for advice and information on self-employment and starting up in business

Follow @businessgov on Twitter

The Fredericks Foundation is a charity that provides loans to people who want to set up a new business or maintain or expand an existing business. Fredericks is open to anyone who has a viable business proposition but cannot obtain mainstream finance:

  • The Fredericks Foundation website . . .

Follow @fredsfreddies on Twitter

And from 9 May 2016 the Cornwall Growth Hub is providing local information on the support available for business: Business Support Helpline – 0300 456 3565 / their website . . . / and follow on Twitter . . . 


Reports and information about self-employment on the Citizens Advice website (www.citizensadvice.org.uk)
Information for the self-employed claiming working tax credits . . .