Empowering the Freelance Economy

Will the self-employed ever get a straight answer under a Labour government?

Keir Starmer (centre) with members of the Labour Party Shadow Cabimet
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Self-employed must prep for a Labour win and what comes with that: Sir Keir Starmer’s courtroom tactics

With Keir Starmer the most likely candidate to be our next Prime Minister, we must all prepare for his courtroom training. They have served him well in a Shadow government, until now, when a nation needs answers.

What I’m getting at is Sir Keir has a knack for responding to a question without actually answering it. If you haven’t seen this phenomenon in action, watch clips of this week’s TV debate, and come to your conclusions.  

Whatever party you plan to vote for, if there were a general election held tomorrow, this is likely who would form the next government, according to YouGov’s first MRP (Multilevel Regression and Post-Stratification) model of the 2024 General Election campaign:

Labour: 422 (+220)

Conservative: 140 (-225)

Liberal Democrat: 48 (+37)

SNP: 17 (-31)

Green: 2 (+1)

Plaid Cymru: 2 (-2)

Reform: 0 (0)

N.Ireland + Others: 19 (0)

However, a YouGov poll released just as the TV debate credits were rolling, reported that the prime minister Rishi Sunak came out on top, with 51% saying he performed better, compared to 49% in favour of Sir Keir.

Both sets of YouGove figures pre and post-debate, while telling, mean little to any of the UK’s 4.2 million self-employed workers. Both parties so far in this election campaign have overlooked these voters. 

“Deafening silence” over self-employed issues

What the Conservative and Labour Parties have in common is their “deafening silence” on issues affecting the UK’s 4.2m self-employed workers, according to contractors and the larger self-employed community.

In the heated TV debate, Sunak and Starmer clashed on the NHS, immigration, and tax, but did not mention anything about the needs of the self-employed – whether freelancers, contractors, small business owners or those with side hustles.

“Whether in the political debates or over the past few weeks, the silence from the main Parties over the issues impacting the self-employed is deafening,” says Seb Maley, CEO of tax compliance firm Qdos.

“The UK’s 4.2m self-employed workers have been all but abandoned in recent years by the existing government – hit with needless tax reforms and counter-productive tax hikes,” says Maley.

Continuing, he says, “You get the feeling that the self-employed vote is up for grabs, which is why it’s so surprising that neither Conservative nor Labour Party seem tuned into what this group actually needs. As things stand, they’ve been all but overlooked in this general election campaign. 

“Whichever party homes in on the needs of this vital group of workers stands a much better chance of winning the general election next month – it’s an open goal.”

Maley  urges all political parties to consider the following to win the support of millions of independent workers:

  • Addressing the IR35 legislation’s flaws 
  • Reducing the rate of Corporation Tax for the smallest businesses (currently 25%)
  • Raising the minimum trading allowance (currently £1000), so those with side hustles can earn more before paying tax
  • Increase the tax-free dividend allowance, which has been reduced from £5000 to just £500 in recent years
  • Regulate the umbrella industry, to protect workers and stamp out tax avoidance

Even with the Labour Party in power, I have a gut feeling the self-employed will still be grappling for responses and action for the above-mentioned issues. We don’t need politicians who use the former government as a scapegoat. We need a leader who can give honest answers to honest questions. We need new ideas and solutions that alleviate the challenges and problems of the past, We also need and a proactive mindset to prepare for challenges yet to come. Could Keir Starmer be the leader to give us that?

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