The Prime Minister David Cameron has sent a message of support to freelancers as they celebrate National Freelancers Day.
The day, organised by PCG, centres on a major event in London at which this year’s keynote speaker is Apprentice star, businesswoman and the Conservatives’ small business ambassador Karren Brady.
Cameron said: “Our country owes a huge debt of gratitude to the thousands of men and women who have decided to make their living as freelancers and entrepreneurs. You have not only taken your own future into your own hands, but you are the engine of our economy and economic revival. Indeed, SMEs are the very lifeblood of our country and of local communities across the land.”
The PCG says the day has focused attention on the benefits of hiring freelancers and sought to make things easier for those who choose freelancing.
For instance, following last year’s event Halifax met with the group Contractor Financials to talk about how the rules might be changed to allow more freelancers easier access to mortgages. National Freelancers Day provided evidence of the huge breadth of industries that freelancers can now be found in and, as a result, Halifax now enable freelancers from any profession, whether it be IT, oil and gas, engineering or legal, to secure a mortgage based on their contract rate alone. This helps avoid the traditional requirement to have three years’ healthy trading accounts that might prove very restrictive. Subsequently, Halifax made their Help to Buy available so that freelancers can borrow based on a multiple of their annualised contract rate alone, with as little as a 5% deposit.
National Freelancers Day has also helped showcase freelancers in discussions to make protection products more relevant to the needs of flexible workers. Prudential have worked with Contractor Financials to tailor an innovative product that will allow PCG members to insure more income than was previously possible and could make a substantial difference if you were unable to work due to accident or illness.
A traditional income protection policy only allows people to protect a percentage of their gross income, but this can be quite limiting for freelancers who may draw a relatively low salary and dividends. Being able to refer to National Freelancers Day helped convince Prudential that this was a population of highly motivated, highly skilled individuals who were exactly the type of clients that they would wish to insure. The resulting contract-based income protection policy now allows freelancers to cover up to 50% of their gross contract income instead of the usual limited definition of earnings.
There are an estimated 1.72 million freelancers in the UK, of whom a growing number are women. Recent ONS figures revealed that women now account for at least 38% of the freelancing community with a third of that number (13% of the total), being mothers. This is an estimated 25% increase since 2008.
Julie Stewart, Chairman of PCG, said: “National Freelancers Day is about promoting and celebrating the positive impact freelancing has on the UK, both in terms of the economy and our work/life balance. It is brilliant that such high-profile individuals are now choosing to celebrate with us.”