There has been a pronounced increase in confidence levels among freelancers in the UK over the last few months, a new report has revealed.
The latest Freelancer Confidence Index from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has shown that 41 per cent of freelancers are optimistic about their business performance improving in the next 12 months, compared to 25 per cent who are not confident.
It means the headline indicator freelancer confidence levels rose to a rating of +11.8 for the second quarter of the year, up from +8.9 in Q1. This is the highest score in the history of the IPSE report.
This is despite that fact that 46 per cent of freelancers expect business costs to increase in the next 12 months, while there has also been a slight decrease in the proportion of freelancers under contract at the time of the survey, dropping from 82 per cent in the first quarter to 80 per cent in the second.
However, IPSE warned that the confidence levels that are currently being seen may not persist once the government begins to implement the economic measures it announced in its most recent Budget.
Chancellor George Osborne confirmed the introduction of increased taxes on dividends, a reduction in the number of businesses that can claim travel and subsistence costs, and potentially punitive changes to IR35 tax regulations, all of which could create substantial additional costs for freelancers.
IPSE has been a vocal critic of the Budget, which it believes will make life “much, much tougher” for those working in this sector.
Chris Bryce, IPSE’s chief executive, said: “The UK needs a robust, confident self-employed community to give our labour market the flexibility it needs to compete in a global marketplace. The people who take the risks associated with self-employment need to be supported in their endeavours.”
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