More disabled people than ever before are choosing self-employment, but are being let down by poor support from government, according to new research from Community trade union and IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed).
The study, ‘Making self-employment work for disabled people’, found that 611,000 UK disabled people now work for themselves in their main job. The report also found that although they overwhelmingly see self-employment as a positive way of working, they do not get the support they need from government.
Key findings of the report are:
Like the rest of the self-employed sector, disabled people face confusion from government and a lack of clarity about regulations as well as late payment, which the report says should be challenged by increased powers for the Small Business Commissioner. But beyond these challenges they face specific issues.
The report issues a number of disability specific recommendations for government and support organisations, including:
John Paul McHugh, Assistant General Secretary at Community, said: “The growth in the number of disabled people becoming self-employed shows no signs of slowing. It’s no surprise when this report found a majority had a positive view of self-employment and intended to stay in it for the long-term.
“However, it’s clear not enough is being done by government to help disabled people to make a success of this way of working. Partnering with like-minded organisations and charities, we believe we can create a better working world for disabled people through self-employment but that also needs the right focus and policies from government. This report sets out the steps that should be taken.”
Jonathan Lima-Matthews, Head of Public Affairs at IPSE, said: “Working for themselves is an overwhelmingly positive choice for disabled people. They can enjoy the freedom to work when, where and, crucially, how they want – something many told us they couldn’t do in permanent employment.
“The Government says it wants to help people get into work, but ministers are letting disabled people down by failing to support them to be their own boss. It’s time for it to turn this around and give disabled businesspeople striking out for themselves the support they need.”