The Centre for Research on Self-Employment has launched with the aim of improving the understanding of self-employment and its impact on the economy – at a time when 14 per cent of the UK’s working population work for themselves.
The new think tank is supported by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) and is hoping to inform policy on one person businesses.
Plans for the centre were first announced on 12 November – National Freelancers Day – and it has published “Handbook of Research on Freelancing and Self-Employment” to mark its inauguration. The publication includes a chapter tracing the rise in the number of freelancers between 1992 and 2015 to 4.1m today.
Commenting on the launch, IPSE chairman James Collings, said: “In supporting the creation of the Centre for Research on Self-Employment, IPSE is striving to deepen our understanding of the people we represent. It is widely recognised that the self-employed have an important impact on modern economies, but they are a sector of the labour market that is often misunderstood and misrepresented. The CRSE will also play a key role in strengthening our ability to make evidence-based policy proposals to government.“
The launch follows an Autumn Statement and Spending Review which IPSE has claimed left questions “unanswered” for one person businesses. No mention was made in George Osborne’s address to parliament of HMRC’s discussion document on tax legislation IR35 – designed to prevent tax avoidance by freelancers. Nor were rumours addressed about a possible change to the way self-employed contractors are taxed after a month working for the same client.
The Autumn Statement confirmed that travel and subsistence tax relief would be restricted for contractors working through personal services companies from 2016 onwards – following a consultation which ended in September.
IPSE’s chief executive Chris Bryce commented in response to the chancellor’s announcement that the organisation would continue to try and “ensure a fair tax system for freelance businesses”.
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