Record fall in the number of self employed people in the UK

The August 2020 report from the Office for National Statistics shows a record fall of self-employed people, according to research by Bambridge Accountants. This represents a 4.8% call in the latest quarter (April to June 2020 compared to January to March 2020), representing 238,000 fewer self-employed people. 

The decrease in the self-employed over the quarter was driven by construction (down 57,000, or 6.2%, to 862,000), professional, scientific and technical services (down 55,000, or 8.3%, to 610,000) and administrative and support services (down 55,000, or 14.3%, to 333,000).

The number of self-employed people changing employment status to employees is at a record high. 4.76 million people are currently classed as self employed, compared to 5 million in the previous quarter.

The number of people who changed from reporting themselves as self-employed to an employee increased by 48,000 on the quarter and 81,000 on the year to a record high of 253,000.

Many freelancers are returning to employment for job security. During the last few months, new and other self-employed individuals found that they were excluded from the self-employed grant scheme from HMRC.

A report from The Institute for Fiscal Studies, estimates that two million freelancers were excluded from support. This includes 1.3 million who had self-employed income, but were ineligible because they received less than half of their income from self- employment. Only 39% of this group also had employed income - a large proportion of the group are drawing a pension while continuing to work.

225,000 people are ineligible for support because their self-employment profits were more than £50,000 a year, while 650,000 will be ineligible because they entered self-employment in the past year.

The three groups overlap, to a collective total of two million people. This represents 38% of all self-employed individuals, who were not eligible for the grant.