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Self-employed feel like “cash cows” under Conservatives and likely to vote Labour in next election finds survey

Rachel Reeves, Labour's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in a recent press conference;: "The confirmation of recession exposes a government and a Prime Minister completely out of touch with the realities on the ground."
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Self-employed workers ‘politically homeless’, as 6 in 10 do not have faith in any party

Nearly two in three self-employed people do not believe any of the main political parties represent their best interests, according to new research.

As the end of this government’s parliamentary term approaches, the major political parties are preparing for a general election, due no later than January 2025.

But while politicians get on the war footing, the independent workforce is unsure that any of the mainstream parties represent their best interests.

This is according to Qdos, a business and tax insurance provider for the self-employed, that carried out an annual survey to explore the issues facing flexible workers. The findings, according to the insurer, “offer food for thought for politicians across the spectrum.”

The key finding is that almost two-thirds (62.6%) of the nearly 900 self-employed workers surveyed feel none of the major political parties represent their best interests.

More self-employed likely to vote Labout in next election

Just 11.1% believe the Conservative party does, and 9.4% believe Labour does. Also surveyed on voting intention, 23.9% of self-employed plan to vote for Labour, compared to just 14.8% for the Conservatives. 18.7% plan to abstain from voting altogether.

Following years of tax hikes – and frozen tax bands that have forced these workers to pay more tax through fiscal drag – it is easy to understand why this crucial group of voters feels politically homeless, say Qdos.

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in a recent press conference: “The confirmation of recession exposes a government and a Prime Minister completely out of touch with the realities on the ground.”

At the outset of 2024, the UK was already a depressed economy, but now the UK has entered a recession, the self-employed will be holding out for tax and employment policies that hold promise and less uncertainty.

What can politicians do to win back the self-employed vote?

The survey findings also offer insight into what politicians could do to restore faith and win support from the self-employed.

Two-thirds (67.6%) want IR35 reform reversed, and a fifth (18.7%) would like to see Corporation Tax reduced to its previous rate (19%). Others (5.1%) want to see the umbrella sector regulated.

Understanding the needs of these workers, and delivering policies to meet them, will be crucial for politicians ahead of the looming general election.

“Over the past decade, government policies and tax changes have hit self-employed workers incredibly hard,” says Qdos CEO Seb Maley. “Relentless tax freezes and hikes are suffocating the UK’s flexible workforce.

“The result is that a huge number of the self-employed don’t see that any of the mainstream political parties represent their best interests. Many feel politically homeless – and really, who can blame them?

“But actually, it’s pretty clear what an incoming government needs to do to get the self-employed on-side. Give these workers the incentive to continue providing the flexibility the country and the economy need – don’t treat them as a cash cow.

“This is an open goal for politicians, and a massive opportunity to win millions of votes – provided they take these concerns seriously.”

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