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Self-employed workers need more business support from the government, according to a review led by leading entrepreneur Julie Deane.

Ms Deane, who is founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company and 2013 Great British Entrepreneur of the Year, said self-employed workers should receive the same rights as traditional employees, like maternity and sick pay.

At 4.6 million, or 15% of the working population, self-employment is at an all-time high in the UK. And the report said self-employment "should not mean that people are disadvantaged".

The report calls for maternity pay in the first six weeks of leave to be raised to be brought in line with Statutory Maternity Pay, and "the remaining 33 weeks would be paid at the lower of the statutory flat rate or 90% of earnings". It also recommends an Adoption Allowance for self-employed workers who adopt, giving them the same rights as company employees.

"It is important that with the increased growth in self-employment, and the subsequent benefits that this group brings to the economy, that there are systems in place to support the self-employed in the same way as the employed," the report said.

James Gribben from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), said: "What we would like to see ideally is paternal leave. So maternity pay and paternity pay, though another call that's made on this report is also for adoption pay, which is another area where the playing field is not level.

"We don't want to see this kind of barrier in place and the way that you work shouldn't determine the ability of somebody to adopt or not adopt."