Brexit will be bad for business say nearly 50% of self-employed

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A survey by the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) and cloud-accounting software provider FreeAgent found that 44% of all self-employed workers believe that Brexit will have a negative impact on their business. Anna Tobin reports

The joint survey, carried out by professional membership body the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) and cloud-accounting software provider FreeAgent of a sample of 500 self-employed freelancers and contractors, found that 44% of all self-employed workers think that Brexit will have a negative impact on their business; 8% think the impact will be positive.

It also found that 61% of self-employed people under 30 and 58% of people aged 31 to 40 think that Brexit will result in fewer opportunities for their business. It discovered that 13% of all self-employed workers are looking for freelance work overseas in anticipation of a negative Brexit impact and 12% are considering closing down their business.

“If the impending losses from the self-employed pool due to concerns over the impact of Brexit were not significant enough, the additional loss of at least 13% of the limited company group of freelance workers due to off-payroll reforms will further restrict UK plc’s access to the necessary skills to weather the country’s ongoing uncertainty. The very workers who traditionally prop up the economy in challenging times will simply not be there in sufficient numbers,” said Julia Kermode, chief executive of FCSA.

“From our respondents we know that 67% of those planning to leave freelancing due to off-payroll reforms have been in business for under five years. They are the new generation of agile entrepreneurs with all the skills we need in the future. Interestingly, 82% of those who told us they will leave freelancing are male, which could be significant for STEM occupations in which men are more highly represented, and also where the UK already has a shortfall of skills – we cannot afford to lose them. Our country is going through some tough times just now and the working landscape for our flexible talent does not look particularly rosy – our Government needs to acknowledge that freelancers and contractors are key to our economy and need help, reassurance and certainty.”

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