IPSE: The future’s not looking bright for freelancers

63% of the UK's freelancers have a negative economic outlook for the next 12 months as "apprehensions around Brexit" knock confidence

While the number of new businesses continues to soar and the start-up industry gains pace, the UK’s freelance sector appears to be souring with declining confidence among the country’s freelance community.

According to a new survey by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), 63% of freelancers were reported as having a negative economic outlook for the next 12 months and 49% aren’t optimistic when it comes to their business performance over the next 12 months either.

These are the lowest confidence levels since IPSE’s quarterly survey begun.

However the same group of freelancers surveyed by IPSE also said that their daily rates of pay, quarterly earnings and hours have all increased recently  – working for 87% of the second quarter of 2016 compared to an average of 84% over the past year – so this plummeting freelance optimism might not be justified.

IPSE CEO, Chris Bryce, outlined some of the potential causes of the decline in business confidence among freelancers:

“The uncertainty of the Brexit vote and its aftermath will undoubtedly have played a big part in the drop in freelancers’ confidence levels. As well as this, contractors working in the public sector have had to deal with government’s proposal to unfairly apply employment taxes.

“However, it is encouraging to see that freelancers are working more now than ever before. Clearly businesses value the flexibility and resilience freelancers provide at this time. In a post-Brexit world, a flexible economy provided by the freelancing sector is essential to the UK’s success.”

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