Posted: Mon 15th Feb 2016
The government has published entrepreneur Julie Deane's independent review into UK self-employment.
She makes 10 recommendations including extending maternity pay to equal that enjoyed by employees, flexible mortgages and pensions, more shared work spaces and greater promotional of support for the self-employed.
We asked entrepreneurs what they thought of the review and here's what they told us.
"We welcome Julie Deane's review which calls for a levelling of benefits for the self-employed such as mortgages and maternity pay, whilst also highlighting the increasing importance of the private sector in delivering business support. Enterprise Nation is highlighted in the report as a source of quality support and we are looking forward to continuing to serve the rising numbers of self-employed, to ensure that start-up, export and growth ambitions can be realised."
Emma Jones, founder, Enterprise Nation
"For me the most important recommendations from Julie Deane's review are the removal of the financial and parental risks that prohibit talented individuals from taking the leap into entrepreneurship. The untapped value that could be created in the UK economy by ensuring that these talented individuals can make the leap, without risking their family's lifestyle, should not be understated. Especially when reviewing female entrepreneurship in the UK. Indeed in our own research into female entrepreneurship in the UK, maternity pay for the self-employed was the key change that was recommended alongside making babysitting an allowable business expense."
Jonathan Russell, co-founder, Bizdaq
"Late invoice payment is a major issue for the self-employed, causing cash-flow issues that can impact potential growth and even the ability pay the mortgage, rent or other financial commitments. So flexible mortgages are an excellent idea and might be able to help address this problem to some extent, but more must be done to help. The government announced plans in 2015 to protect smaller companies from late payment by the public sector, following EU rules on public procurement which would mandate 30-day payment terms. A similar measure for the private sector would be a true financial fillip for the self-employed and small businesses struggling with late invoice payment and its attendant cash-flow issues."
Martin Campbell, managing director, Ormsby Street
"It's ironic that the self-employed enable their employees to get mortgages but often fail to secure them themselves. Perhaps the FCA should improve its rules to enable entrepreneurs to borrow, maybe by reducing the historic data requirements and off-setting these with appreciation of greater skill. Entrepreneurs would then have to show some financial acumen, as Julie intimates."
Malcolm Durhan, chairman, Flexible Directors
"This spotlight on self-employed people is welcome. Most findings are supported by other research, including from Enterprise Nation, the RSA and the Sarah Anderson CBE report on the cost of regulatory compliance, The high cost of running a self-employed business in the UK, in comparison with other countries, is an omission. Government can influence the reduction of these costs, particularly in the first three, vulnerable, years of trading. Costs to address include energy, broadband, travel, taxation, regulations, cash-flow and financial services. Self-employed people earn 20% less than in 2008 and cannot thrive when they struggle to make ends meet."
Tony Robinson, co-founder, Enterprise Rockers
"Julie Deane's report's recommendation of more flexible financial solutions for freelancers is a must. This is one issue which self-employed people have put up with for long enough. What excites me most though is the importance she places on shared work spaces and new technologies in her report to Number 10. This raises the prospect that, finally, government policy could go some way towards catching up with the new realities of the workplace for freelancers, who have led the way in terms of collaborative, cloud-based working until now."
Alastair Campbell, founder, Company Check and Carsnip
"I welcome any help with running my small business. How seriously will government take these recommendations? In one year, the hugely popular Growth Vouchers and Growth Accelerator programme is mothballed, dividend tax is increased, auto enrolment is imposed, the Living Wage is increased, a threat of filing tax returns four times a year. A subsidy for office space and IT For the first two years and the Inland Revenue answering their phones would all help as well as seconding actual business people to implement policy in BIS, UKTI and UKEF, instead of civil servants with no actual experience of running a business. Sadly, I remain unconvinced."
Olga Crosse, founder, Crosse HR