According to figures released over the past few weeks, self employment is well and truly alive in the UK with over 15% of the UK workforce working for themselves. This figure is the highest since records began and is one the key reasons why the UK has recovered from the recession.
Indeed this is positive news, however for the UK to really benefit from these micro businesses the self employed need to receive the same level of support they received pre recession when initiatives such as the Business Link provided tangible support to SMEs.
With the self employed the hardest working section of employment with close to a fifth working over 60 hours per week, further simplification of mandatory reporting and tax laws is required. Additionally the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) need to be more visible. Just this week the Federation of Small Business urged LEPs to engage more with small firms to encourage local economic growth.
FSB national chairman, John Allan, said: “LEPs are crucial to delivering local economic growth across England. While some have done a good job of reaching out to the small business community, others need to up their game. Small firms will ultimately be the ones creating most of the jobs and prosperity in the private sector, so it is absolutely essential that they are at the heart of all LEPs thinking and plans.”
While the government has been keen to promote self employment as an option to job seekers, they need to provide the springboard for micro businesses to really grow beyond one and two person operations. This means providing SMEs with tax breaks, reduced bureaucracy and increased support. Indeed at the moment small businesses tend to be hounded by HMRC, while big business can legally avoid paying tax.
Let’s ensure that the UK continues to recover and prosper by enabling the growing number of micro businesses to achieve their potential.