Friday, 3 April 2009

What about the (self employed) workers?

I get a touch fed up when we hear people on the radio woffling on about how we need to help small businesses employ more people, or how the government should rescue big businesses that are floundering.

It's not that I have anything against these measures, but there is hardly ever any mention of self employed people, or those who run family companies with no other employees.

Unfortunately, the image the term 'independent trader' conjures up is probably that of the picture shown here. But we aren't all Del Boy Trotters. Vast numbers of people work for themselves, have no intention of employing others, but are still very valuable to the economy.

It's 15 years since I worked for a big company. But in those 15 years I have not been a drain on the state. Instead I have been contributing taxes, and even collecting VAT on behalf of HM Government. Yet all we hear about is aid for the big boys and concessions for small employers.

At the moment there are very few incentives to go it alone. It's about time there was more help for individuals to become and stay self-employed, or to run a family limited company. Every individual or family working this way is one or two less on the unemployment statistics. And at a time like the present, that's not a bad thing.


  1. I agree. In fact I'd go further and say that Gordon the Moron is an enemy of small businesses. Not only did he raid everyone's pensions and squander the proceeds, he closed the loophole that allowed company directors to pay a lower rate of tax on dividends. this means that it's simply not worth starting a business unless you can guarantee a biggish minimal turnover, and removes incentives for sole traders who want to build their business e.g. by employing people. Down with socialism, the biggest crime against humanity ever invented.

  2. You are absolutely right Brian! Friends of mine have been made redundant in recent months, but at least get unemployment benefit. However if you are self-employed, you can actually be living well below the poverty line if work is short, and get no help whatsoever!

  3. Too true. It's the same here in Ireland. They talk of supporting entrepreneurship as the means out of the economic malaise, but it's pure lip service. The self-employed are so discriminated against in everything from getting loans, to welfare, to tax and the law, that it is no incentive at all. Unless, of course, you are a successful artist or writer - their income is not taxed.

    Come to live in Ireland Brian!

  4. Brendan - part of me would love to live in Ireland (particularly the quarter from my Grandma Mulligan from Cork), but I'd not like to make such a big move while our kids are in education... how successful a writer do you have to be before your income is untaxed?

    Your point is spot on - self-employed are definitely an underclass as far as most governments are concerned.