The future of the left since 1884

Working for you: A progressive manifesto for the self-employed


Self-employed workers are a powerful force for good. In 2019 they contributed £305bn to the UK’s economic output – 14 per cent of GDP. Despite their contribution, self-employed people get a raw deal. They are more exposed to the ebbs and flows of the business cycle, and lack many of the protections enjoyed by employees, such as sick pay, parental rights and pensions.

Any party with ambitions to govern should have a plan to meet these challenges. There could be approaching five million self-employed voters in the next general election, with around a million in the marginal constituencies that will play a decisive role in the outcome. This manifesto proposes policies to improve working conditions, financial security, and business support for the self-employed and microbusinesses. It covers those who operate under a range of statuses and designations including sole-traders, limited companies, partners, freelancers, subcontractors, fixed term contractors and ‘limb b’ workers – essentially everyone in work who is not an employee under both employment and tax law.

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Sasjkia Otto

Sasjkia Otto is a senior researcher at the Fabian Society


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