The Federation of Small Businesses has called on all the political parties contesting the June 2017 general election to pledge their support for self-employed workers.
In its small business election manifesto, the organisation has urged the country’s prospective MPs and political leaders to commit to helping freelancers and contractors to generate economic growth, rather than targeting them with punitive fiscal measures.
Specifically, it is looking for a commitment that the self-employed will not be singled out for tax rises, as well as offering greater recognition of these workers’ contributions to the welfare system by providing them with equal maternity pay and fairer treatment under Universal Credit.
Other suggested measures include creating small business export vouchers to help small firms trade with new markets for the first time, creating a small business version of the Asset of Community Value to protect smaller firms from being crowded out by larger chains, and taking action to prevent strongarm supply chain tactics such as retrospective discounting and pay-to-stay clauses.
The FSB is also keen to see an independent inquiry or royal commission to assess a new approach to business rates for 2022 based on the ability to pay, as well as a guarantee that EU citizens will be able to continue to stay and work in the UK after Brexit.
Mike Cherry, national chairman of the FSB, said: “The UK’s army of 4.8 million self-employed are the backbone of this country and should be recognised for the value they add both to the economy and their local communities.
“Small businesses and the self-employed will be vital to a successful post-Brexit economy. Politicians seeking their votes should be on their side and against hitting them with extra costs.”