Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Income down 22% in the last six years

Around 4.6m people work for themselves, more than at any time in the past 40 year
Around 4.6m people work for themselves, more than at any time in the past 40 year

The number of people who are self-employed has increased by over 730,000 in the past six years, but average income has slumped by 22%, a new study has revealed.

Around 4.6m people work for themselves, more than at any time in the past 40 years, said the Office for National Statistics in a report which does not cover Northern Ireland.

The number of self-employed over 65-year-olds has more than doubled over the past five years to almost half a million. The most common jobs are in construction and taxi driving, although there has been an increase in the number of management consultants.

Average income from self-employment has fallen by over a fifth since 2008, to £207 a week.

The TUC said income has "collapsed", with self-employed workers earning less than half that of other employees.

General secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Self-employment appears to be a key factor in the UK economy's shift towards low-paid work. Many people want to work for themselves, but the growth in self-employment is reducing people's pay, job security and retirement income, and is likely to be reducing the Government's tax take too."

Around 4.6m people are self-employed, 15% of all those in work, the highest since data was first collected 40 years ago.

Another 356,000 people have a second job in which they are self-employed.

Self-employment increased in the 1980s before falling during the early 1990s recession.

More than two-fifths of self-employed workers are over 50, working an average of 40 hours a week, although almost one in eight put in 60 hours or more.

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