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UK – Freelancer confidence falls on Brexit concerns

26 April 2018

The confidence of UK freelancers in the economy is draining away as Brexit approaches, according to IPSE’s new report, “Brexit deal for the self-employed.” This is the first time since IPSE has been tracking confidence that concerns about Brexit have overtaken other factors, such as government policy.

The Freelancer Confidence Index, IPSE’s headline measure of freelancers’ confidence in the UK economy, sustained its largest ever fall in the year of the referendum and has remained at near record lows ever since. The index fell to -43.3, the second lowest level on record, in December 2017 from -36 in September 2017.

The report found 61% of freelancers believe that the result of the Brexit referendum is the main factor negatively affecting their business confidence. And 81% of freelancers expect their costs to increase in the lead-up to Britain formally leaving the European Union by 29 March 2019. 

The report combines the results of a nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 of the UK’s self-employed, commissioned by IPSE and undertaken by ComRes in late 2017, and IPSE’s quarterly Freelancer Confidence Index for the same period.

“If the ComRes poll is a reflection of the wider economy, we are in for a stormy Brexit,” said IPSE CEO Chris Bryce. “The record decline in the confidence of the vital self-employed sector should be a serious concern for the Government as it enters the final, decisive few months of the negotiations.”

Not only are the self-employed a good indicator for the rest of the economy, they also bring “enormous” benefits to it, according to Bryce. “In fact, the flexibility they provide is one of the UK economy’s most significant competitive advantages. As this report says, for the sake of this crucial sector, the government must replace the uncertainty and turbulence we have seen recently with calm, clarity and confidence.”


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