UK freelancer confidence levels “take a knock”

Latest IPSE index reveals that only 28% of freelancers are optimistic about their business performance over the next year

The UK’s freelance community are becoming increasingly pessimistic about future performance, with the first ever negative index scored recorded by the latest Freelancer Confidence Index.

According to the survey by the Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), only 28% of freelancers are confident that their business performance will improve in the next 12 months – a significant decrease on the 41% recorded in second half of 2015.

When asked what factors negatively affected their confidence levels, freelancers said that changing attitudes towards freelancing and regulation were a cause for concern.

Proposed changes to travel and subsistence tax relief, higher taxing of dividends and possible tightening of IR35 tax rules – the tax legislation designed to tax ‘disguised employment’ –were also cited as factors which were causing freelancers to worry about future business opportunities.

The findings come despite the fact that freelancers in the UK are also working harder than ever before this year; working an average of 83% across July to September; 3% up from the previous quarter.

Commenting on the results, Chris Bryce, IPSE CEO, said:

“It is clear that freelancer confidence levels have taken a knock. IPSE is deeply concerned over current proposals for changes to travel and subsistence tax relief and more forceful implementation of IR35 – which still operates under an outdated format.

“These changes have the potential to affect a significant driver of the UK economy and put tens of thousands of freelancers out of business. We call on the government to rethink these proposals to restore freelancers’ lost confidence.”

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