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Yorkshire self-employed workers call for more support, as numbers continue to fall

Eighty three per cent of self-employed workers in Yorkshire have urged the Government for greater support, as numbers continue to fall by 369,000 since April.

Nearly half of sole traders in the region (49 per cent) have called for additional grants to support the sector, with a quarter insisting lower taxes are needed to boost the market. This follows criticism of the way, and the speed at which, the Government responded with emergency support measures for self-employed workers.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) went live on May 13, almost a month after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Government support launched in large part as a result of the pressure from the unions, the Federation of Small Businesses and freelancers themselves, who argued for consistency for the self-employed.

According to the survey released today, 83 per cent of Yorkshire workers are hopeful of remaining in self-employment in a year’s time with additional support – this is in spite of the significant pressures facing the employment market.

The survey – commissioned by self-assessment tax software, GoSimpleTax – showed that, although the significant impact of COVID-19 on self-employed workers in Yorkshire has seen a fall in revenue (36 per cent) and restricted trade (19 per cent), the advantages of being self-employed are still the biggest drivers to working for yourself.

Mike Parkes, technical director at GoSimpleTax, commented: “The employment market as a whole has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, suffering the largest annual decrease since January to March 2010.

“This is particularly evident amongst self-employed workers, who across Yorkshire have seen revenues dented, customer losses and national and local lockdowns hampering trade.

“However, despite the fall in numbers, nearly three quarters of self-employed workers in the region are still confident of remaining as sole traders – driven in large part by the independence (74 per cent and career choice (40) per cent that being self-employed provides.”

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