New year campaign to launch
Self-employed ‘deserve more help’ from ministers
There are more than 300,000 people in Scotland working for themselves – more than those working in the Armed Forces, local government or the NHS – with numbers likely to swell further in 2017.
The spike in self-employment accounts for nearly half of the fall in unemployment since the recession.
But the self-employed do not enjoy sick pay or holiday pay, or many other benefits.
Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Given their number, we believe that it is absolutely right for self-employed parents to be given the same state support as employees.
“Indeed, we’ve pressed for the Scottish Government to deliver parental and adoption support for the self-employed when they get additional welfare powers in 2017. Further, we’re pressing ministers to revisit their jobs plan to look at how to best help those that work for themselves.”
In a new year message, Mr Willox said that in the last year, the debate about the shift towards self-employment has intensified.
“Some argue that its part of a wider economic problem – that people are turning to self-employment because there aren’t enough good jobs. Others pitch this change as a boom in entrepreneurship, the march of the makers, equating self-employment with self-reliance.
“Big business and the public sector downsizing is at least partly accountable for this rise, in the UK and elsewhere. Digital technologies and the cost and complexity of employment are also contributing factors.
“What’s clear is that being self-employed is no fairy tale. You’re likely to take home less money, and have none of the benefits of employment like sick pay and holidays.”
He said self-employment offers some positives, such as flexibility and is appealing to those with a disability or with caring duties.
“But most of all, being the boss can be immensely rewarding – both figuratively and literally – if you get your business right,” he said.
“Studies reveal that most of the self-employed are happy and less than one in ten are planning to get a so-called ‘proper job’ within a year.”
The FSB in Scotland is to publish research mapping self-employment levels across Scotland. It reveals a close relationship between prosperity, rurality and high levels of self-employment.
“This link shows that there’s absolutely a place for those who work for themselves in successful Scottish local economies, but we need to adjust our systems and processes to account for these self-starters.”