Posted: Thu 2nd Jul 2015
The prime minister David Cameron announced yesterday that the government is to undertake a review around the services it offers to the self-employed.
With over five million small businesses operating, it's time to recognise that the world of work and business has changed and that the self-employed need benefits to match those of employees.
Technology has made entrepreneurship accessible to all. You no longer need to have a filing cabinet and a secretary to run a business - you just need a good idea, a laptop and dedication to giving it a go.
While many chase gazelles, unicorns and the next Google, the fact of the matter is that hundreds of thousands of people each year are seeing the possibilities of growing a small business that feeds their family as well as their creativity. They have eschewed the job market and taken an educated bet on their own abilities.
Don't panic everyone! That's really OK. We just need to adjust a little.
We've already said earlier this week what we'd like to see in the Summer Budget on 8 July. But more than anything, we'd like to see a world where the little guy is as important as the big guy and where small businesses get the recognition they deserve.
We'd like the government to hear that the number one thing our members are looking for is a way to support growth; not via increased access to investment and loans but via less aggressive taxation, help with cashflow, and greater access to public procurement which offers prompt payment and a steady, reliable income to help new firms build important sustainability.
They'd also like to see childcare as a tax-deductible expense for entrepreneurs. With increasing numbers of highly-qualified women starting businesses from home, high child care costs in the early stages of start-up can often be make or break.
They also want to see better access to training to build sustainability and growth. We'd like to see a whole-scale change in attitudes towards offering early-stage help for new firms - regardless of whether they are destined to be fast-growth gazelles.
We'd also like to see the self-employed have the same access to mortgages, health insurance and pensions as the employed. We've seen some extraordinarily brilliant entrepreneurial work in this area, think Smart Pension and Ipswich Building Society.
And before work starts on all of that, we'd like a rapid response unit in the Department for Business, that is able to respond to the quickly-changing needs of small business. The government needs to stay on its toes to respond to this large and growing community.