Thursday 30 March 2017 / 10:57 AM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Brexit makes action on self-employment all the more urgent – John McDonnell

Brexit
makes action on self-employment all the more urgent, and Britain should lead
the way in supporting the self-employed, says Labour

In
the wake of the triggering of Article 50, Labour held a Self-Employment Summit
this morning to discuss the needs of the self-employed in the Brexit
negotiations and beyond.

The
Summit, the first held by Labour’s Commission on Self-Employment, was hosted by
the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and attended by key stakeholders,
including the TUC, the GMB, the British Chamber of Commerce, and the
Co-operative Party.

John
McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

“Labour’s self-employment summit
today looked at all aspects of self-employment and the gig economy, including
how any changes to the tax system should be aligned with increasing support for
the self-employed.

“With the number of self-employed
people due to overtake public sector workers by 2018, we will develop a package
of measures for self-employed people that will form a major part of Labour’s
offer at the next General Election. While the Tories are prepared to attack the
living standards of the self-employed, Labour are listening and will act to
address the real issues they are facing.”

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said:  

“The future success of the UK economy rests
squarely on the shoulders of the UK’s army of the self-employed.  These
are the entrepreneurs, the risk-takers, the freelancers, the strivers – and
without them we simply wouldn’t have a thriving economy, just as we face
Brexit.

“FSB
worked with the Labour frontbench and MPs from all parties to kill off the £2bn
tax hike on the self-employed.  We now need a proper policy debate about
future support for this critical part of the UK economy.”

Tim Roache,
General Secretary of the GMB Union, said:
 

“Philip Hammond made a hash of his first Budget
by completely failing to look the wide range of issues facing people currently
classified as self-employed. This initiative from Labour comes at a crucial
time when work in all its forms is increasingly unclear and uncertain.

“GMB has genuinely self-employed members but we also
have plenty of members who are at a loss as to what their employment status is
or have been wrongly told they are self-employed by employers hell-bent on
shirking their legal and moral responsibilities.

“How many scandals and court cases do we have to see
before government ministers and HMRC stop twiddling their thumbs and start
taking their enforcement role seriously? It’s time that politicians grasped
this nettle.”