Against the backdrop of London’s iconic skyline, crowds flocked to the River Thames’ South Bank for the official launch of the IPSE Manifesto, A Contract with the Self-Employed.
The launch, adjacent to the OXO Tower, marked the beginning of a bold, striking and intensive four-day campaign in which advertising vans clad with images of IPSE’s posters were driven around London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol.
Taking in newspaper offices, co-working spaces and areas of local significance and history, IPSE’s vans set out to ensure the self-employed have a voice and a platform, from Land’s End to John o’Groats.
IPSE’s campaign was built around prominent imagery of a goose laying a golden egg alongside a message calling on the government to “not strangle the self-employed”.
Contributing £255 billion to the UK economy every year – enough to fund the NHS twice over – the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed are the country’s golden goose, and should not be punished with restrictive and ill-conceived policies.
Addressing the crowd at the South Bank, IPSE CEO Chris Bryce spoke of the vital contribution the self-employed make to the economy and the pressing need for the next government to reflect and reward their unique value with fair, progressive and supportive policies.
“The manifesto launch was a great success, and drew a lot of attention in central London,” Chris said. “But it was just the beginning of a bold and concerted campaign across the UK and a long, and hopefully fruitful, engagement with the government over the coming years.
“We are determined to give a voice to selfemployed people right across the country and ensure the next government gives them the support and freedom they need to flourish.”
What IPSE is calling for?
IPSE’s 2015 manifesto, ‘Britain’s Secret Weapon’, achieved a great resonance, as a number of its policies were implemented by the government – including the appointment of a small business commissioner.
IPSE is confident its new manifesto will gain even more traction over the next five years.
Self-employment has never been more crucial, nor higher on the government agenda. The selfemployed are the only people who can give the UK economy the flexibility and dynamism to carry it through the years of uncertainty ahead.
The IPSE manifesto is built around six themes:
Delivering a Brexit deal that works – The selfemployed must be central to the government’s agenda in the negotiations. A fair trading deal and the free movement of skilled professionals across Europe are imperative.
Keeping self-employment positive: The Taylor Review – There must be a statutory definition of self-employment. This definition should consider autonomy in work, control over working practices, taking on business risk and the level of independence from clients.
A fairer, more efficient tax system – The current tax system is based on a traditional employer/ employee model that is out of touch with modern working practices. The government should conduct a strategic review of it and create a new, bespoke tax system for freelancers. It should also limit the damage done by the controversial IR35 regulation, simplify the Making Tax Digital programme, and under no circumstances raise the rate of NICs for the self-employed.
Securing the future of the self-employed – Ensure better provisions for the self-employed, including better pension arrangements, improved access to the Lifetime ISA, fairer parental benefits and Universal Credit for new businesses.
Preparing young people for self-employment – Including further integration of self-employment in curriculums, reforms to construction training and new tax arrangements for training.
Creating a positive business environment – Delivering faster broadband across the country, creating a strong Small Business Commissioner and incentivising the use of work-hubs.