The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of people describing themselves as self-employed in the UK rose by 133,000 to 4.77 million in the three months to November last year.
The increasing trend for self-employment has led the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) to warn the Government that its policy must do more to keep up with the changing labour market.
As a spokesman for IPSE pointed out, around half of the self-employed are the highly skilled professionals who ensure that the UK remains one of the world’s most flexible, knowledge-based economies.
However, he added that the changing nature of the labour market highlights the importance of the Taylor report, which is currently reviewing modern employment practices in the UK. IPSE would like to see it improve the understanding of the innovative ways in which people are now working and how tax legislation and employment status reflect them.
The figures were released as Startups.co.uk released its annual report on emerging and growing business opportunities entitled What business to start in 2017, which showcases 17 of the leading business ideas for budding entrepreneurs.
The report includes ideas for new businesses in a cross-section of industries and caters for a range of skill sets and budgets. All of the business ideas featured are supported by evidence and contain advice from start-ups that are now established.
The list includes opening a men’s haircare and grooming business, a sector that Mintel tips to grow by 11 per cent to reach £95m by 2020. Conversely, entrepreneurs could hark back to a time before facial hair appeared and plug into the ‘kidulthood’ and nostalgia market, which involves taking the activities and products we loved as children and reimagining them for adults.