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The Voice of Freelancing speaks out about a revolution in the concept of work

Hudson Contract | 13th May 2014

Founded in 1999 by a community of freelance contractors, the Professional Contractors Group has become one of the UK’s leading authorities on freelancing. So how has Simon McVicker, PCG Policy Director, responded to the news that self-employment has topped 4.5 million for the first time in history?

Simon’s view is uncompromising. He says: “I’d like to know how large that figure has to get before Britain’s self-employed people are given the backing they deserve.”

Simon adds: “We are now in the midst of a revolution in how we approach the concept of work in this country. If we want to keep up, we need to make structural changes to the institutions supporting our businesses.”

He goes on to highlight:

  • The unfairness of the tax system on those who seek to make their own way without employment rights or entitlement to benefits
  • The burden of late payments on those who are self-employed
  • Restrictions on access to finance for small businesses and freelancers
  • Increasing headache of red tape

So far as I’m concerned, Simon has hit the nail squarely on the head!

And so far as our industry is concerned, freelance builders are the drivers of the construction economy. Paid, by and large, for their outputs, they help entrepreneurs de-risk their projects and can eliminate the cost of downtime throughout work programmes.

At Hudson Contract we believe, on the basis of independent research from Cranfield University, that there are around 550,000 freelance builders in the construction workplace. Around 55,000 of these are members of the collective network Freelance Builders. ( Last year, I personally delivered a study of their position, validity and contribution, to the Department of Business and HM Treasury, and I hope now that the voice of self-employed builders will be heard more loudly – and their presence on building sites all over the country seen in the proper light.

Freelance earnings plummet by 20% Incidentally, a study by the Resolution Foundation think-tank shows self-employed earnings have dropped by 20% since 2007. No surprise there since it’s the self-employed who took the recession on the chin, and I note that Gavin Kelly Chief Executive of the Foundation was quoted in the Times as saying: “Self-employment is a highly precarious business which isn’t that well supported by public policy.”

And the Government’s response? The bludgeon of more regulation to restrict self-employment!

To read Simon McVickers’ full article, click here