Concerns over Brexit are affecting 61% of freelancers, who claim that it is the main factor affecting their business confidence, while 81% expect costs to increase in the lead up to the leave date in March 2019, according to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).
Freelancers’ confidence in the UK economy sank to -43.3 in December 2017, the second lowest recording ever taken.
“For this leading sector to see a fall in earnings – and actually enter a recession as it did in 2017 – should sound warning bells for the rest of the economy,” said Andrew Burke, dean of Trinity Business School, Dublin and chief analyst of the freelancer confidence index.
Moreover, 69% of self-employed said access to the single market needs to be a priority in negotiations as 54% told IPSE that they were closely following the negotiations.
“The record decline in the confidence of the vital self-employed sector should be a serious concern for the government as it enters the final, decisive few months of the negotiation,” said Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO.
“Not only are the self-employed a good indicator for the rest of the economy, they also bring enormous benefits to it. In fact, the flexibility they provide is one of the UK economy’s most significant competitive advantages,” he added.
According to IPSE, 4.8 million people in the UK are self-employed – accounting for one in seven of the UK workforce – and they contributed £271bn to the economy last year.
In February, the government announced new employment rights following the Taylor review into modern working practices.