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Freelancer’s Confidence is Lowest on Record, Study Finds

freelancesupermarket.com newsroom

RSS 09 December 2019
According to a new report by the ISPE (Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed), confidence levels for freelancers have hit record lows as a result of concerns with the economy, Brexit and IR35. Worryingly, confidence levels in the gig economy are set to remain at these record lows for the coming 12 months. Not only that, but the confidence the freelancers have in their own business is also at a record low.

Factors holding back freelancers and their business include concerns over the overall state of the economy (69%), Brexit (65.9%) and Government Tax policy (63.5%). That said, they are working more hours and charging more than they were last year. The average day rate of a freelancer is now at £447, but the time they spend not working has dropped down to the lowest level since 2017 - at 2. 5 weeks. Is this because they are simply busier as the gig economy grows, or are they making hay while the (hazy) sun shines?

Despite the positives to be taken from the pay increases, the lack of confidence appears to be a long-term perspective of the freelancers - likely to be as a result of changes with IR35 happening next April, signalling a tough year ahead.

The good news is that all political parties have pledged to make changes to IR35 after the election. The Conservatives have promised a full policy review of the regulations, as have the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. Labour have voiced a commitment to making changes, but have not committed to it in any manifesto.

The AIPSE meanwhile, have warned the parties against electioneering and suggests that they need to take drastic action in halting the roll out of IR35 before it happens. And of course, unless that halt is implemented, for now at least, contractors and freelancers will need to plan for the worst-case scenario and wait and see what happens.

What do you think? Are you feeling confident for the year ahead, or do you think you're in for tough times? Will IR35 affect you? We'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on what you feel next year will bring.

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