We've had a busy month with the launch of two reports from the EEM team, The Entrepreneurial Audit - Twenty ideas for how to strengthen self-employment in the UK & Fair Share – reclaiming power in the sharing economy.
This new report argues that traditional laissez-faire approaches to enterprise support – epitomised by corporation tax cuts and deregulation drives – have reached the limit of their effectiveness.
Attempts to boost the productivity, earnings potential and financial resilience of the self-employed will only succeed if the government is more willing to intervene and set problems right – and to do so with a package of reforms stretching from taxation to welfare, through to pensions and late payments.
Our new report puts forward twenty ideas for how to strengthen self-employment in the UK, such as by reforming National Insurance contributions, ironing out the problems of Universal Credit, overhauling business rates, and creating new rights for home-based workers.
The fundamental goal of these reforms is to ensure that more people, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of meaningful self-employment, which at its best can offer economic security married with flexibility and purpose.
The report was published on 9th February and followed by a public debate the questions on self-employment which is available to watch online.
This project would not have been possible without the generous support of Crunch, the online accountants for micro-businesses.
For more information, please contact Benedict Dellot, Associate Director, Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing at Benedicit.Dellot@rsa.org.uk
The RSA is undertaking research to determine the size of the UK’s ‘gig economy’ - a term used to capture the trend of using online platforms to find small jobs, sometimes completed immediately after request i.e. on-demand. Companies like Uber and TaskRabbit are fundamentally changing the ways in which we work, and there is growing concern over whether gig workers are protected in the modern labour market.
In order to reform the law or make sound policy, we first need to better understand the nature of the gig economy: what the characteristics of the workers are, what their motivations are, and what their relationship to the platform is, for example, their dependency for work. The RSA has undertaken the largest survey of its kind on the UK’s gig economy, and will use our findings as the basis for exploring what changes might be needed in employment law, the tax system, and social security.
Ultimately, the Fair Share report we will be arguing that it is not enough to pull hard levers in terms of the law, but that we should also be thinking about how we innovate outside of our legal and political system to secure a better deal for workers in the gig economy.
The report will be published on w/c 20th February.
For more information, please contact Brhmie Balaram, Senior Researcher, Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing at Brhmie.Balaram@rsa.org.uk