Working from home

The UK's smallest businesses need the Chancellor to commit to fair maternity pay, simpler taxation and more accessible training opportunities in the upcoming Budget, the organisation representing self-employed workers has said.

IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed) has said it is "essential" that Mr Osborne implements the findings of the Self-Employment Review, conducted by Cambridge Satchel Company founder, Julie Deane OBE.

IPSE CEO Chris Bryce said: "This group (self-employed workers) makes an indispensable contribution to the UK economy, and with record numbers of people working this way, it’s a group that cannot be overlooked."

In a letter to the Chancellor ahead of next Wednesday's Budget Statement, Mr Bryce called for the consideration of the 'Freelancer Limited Company' concept to give self-employed workers more secure employment status. He said: "The current tax system is complex, time-consuming and burdensome for the smallest businesses.

"The recent Office of Tax Simplification report of small business taxation rightly highlighted the need to make tax simpler for small businesses. It recognised the Freelancer Limited Company (FLC) - a concept developed by IPSE - as an idea 'worth considering further' to give freelancers more certainty around employment status."

Maternity pay

An estimated 270,000 freelancers and self-employed workers are mothers, according to IPSE, around 100,000 more than in 2008. As such, the organisation has called on the Chancellor to give a "level playing field" when it comes to maternity pay.

Chris Bryce said: "The Chancellor needs to act on the Self Employment Review’s recommendation to level the playing field, and make sure the self-employed get the same maternity pay as employees. New mums should never be held back from going freelance – particularly as it can provide a much better work-life balance than employment."

Training

IPSE is also calling for better access to training for self-employed workers.

Mr Bryce added: “Access to development opportunities is key for the self-employed to do business. Employees currently receive tax-deductible rates on all training, but the deductions only apply to the self-employed if the training is deemed to be a ‘core’ skill. This means, for example, that a self-employed plumber pays a disproportionately high amount for training in company branding or self-marketing. The Chancellor should use the Budget as an opportunity to make this training more affordable by making training tax-free for employees and the self-employed alike.”