Self-employed – the nouveau pauvre

I take a break for a week or so and lots of people publish stuff about self-employment. Even the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee were discussing it earlier this month, describing it as a “striking feature” of the UK’s labour market while holding a “range of views” as to the possible reasons for it. As Ben Chu noted, this is a polite way of saying that they disagree, which is not surprising given the ambiguous and sometimes contradictory data on self-employment.

Of course, this didn’t stop the government putting its own spin on the MPC’s comments. Ian Duncan-Smith claimed that welfare reforms were reviving Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit, citing the Bank of England in support, even though there was no reference to entrepreneurialism anywhere in its report.

What the MPC did say, however, was that benefit reforms might have been one of the factors leading to higher rates of self-employment. There has been a steep increase in the number of self-employed people in recent months as these charts from the recent TUC report show.

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Alex Harrowell posted on this last week:

So what happened in the spring of 2013? Back on the 3rd of March, 2013, I blogged on a variety of evidence that more or less fictitious self-employment was an emerging survival plan for the unemployed and for badgered Jobcentre Plus staff alike, as well as being a way for chancers like A4e to juice their billings to the government. I called this the bogus hairdresser phenomenon for reasons set out in the post.

I also pointed to this fine post of Voidy’s on the Universal Credit regulations and their tendency to encourage the self-employed to declare more hours.

Basically, declaring self-employment permits you to stop the abuse, permits the Work Programme chancer to bill the government, permits the Jobcentre Plus caseworker to close the file and therefore happy their manager up, and lets you claim Working Tax Credit. If you have kids, you also get additional tax credits in respect of this, which means that you may actually be better off than on JSA. The regulations sort-of get this, giving the DWP the power to bother you to do more hours – therefore pushing you to declare full-time.

So when did the regulations come into force? The 29th of April, 2013. Give them a month to spread through the bureaucracy and for all parties to learn about the new setup, and I think we’ve got a suspect.

A report on the BBC last year alleged that advisers were nudging the jobless towards self-employment. For someone whose benefits are under threat, the option of becoming self-employed and claiming tax credits may look attractive. As Ben Chu puts it, benefits reforms may have “pushed more people into setting up shop on their own in order to protect their incomes”.

Michael O’Connor created this chart last week, using data from the Labour Force Survey.

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It shows the self-employed share of working tax credits rising over the last 3 years. The self-employed now account for 14 percent of the employed workforce but 19 percent of working tax credit claimants. In other words, those working for themselves are more likely to be claiming tax credits than those in employment.

There is much argument about whether and by how much the surge in self-employment is a result of a weak economy and lack of job opportunities elsewhere. The data from the Labour Force Survey and the recent sharp rise after benefit changes suggest that at least some of the increase is due to the state of the labour market.

The pay data seem to point that way too. We already know that the earnings of the self-employed have crashed since the recession.

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Source: ONS data via Richard Murphy who wrote on this in some detail last year.

The HMRC figures tell a similar story. In 2007-08, 4.9 million self-employed earned £88.4 billion. In 2011-12, 5.5 million self-employed earned £80.6 billion.

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That’s not an average figure or one adjusted for inflation, that’s just straightforward cash. In 2011-12, 5.5 million self-employed people actually managed to earn less in total than 4.9 million self-employed people did before the recession. The 600,000 extra people did nothing to raise the total self-employment income, they simply competed with those already there for a much depleted pot.

Frustratingly, the HMRC earnings figures are published almost 2 years after the relevant tax year. It will be January 2016 before we see the data on what has happened to self-employment earnings as a result of this recent upsurge. Looking at the other evidence, though, there is little to suggest there will be much of an improvement.

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36 Responses to Self-employed – the nouveau pauvre

  1. Excellent piece of analysis. Many thanks for digging through the data to get to the truth of the slf-employed boom.

  2. Pingback: Views From The Boatshed

  3. Ian Perry says:

    Reblogged this on emergecoach and commented:
    Nice insight into the self employment myth and bluster!

  4. John says:

    And those unable to understand how to play the system are the ones queuing up at food banks.

  5. P Hearn says:

    What is the alternative? Should these folks be given government “jobs” to spare them the indignity of being self-employed?

    We’ve just had a massive recession. Things ain’t gonna be the way they were for some time, if ever. The days of cosy employment for life, with ever increasing rights and few responsibilities, (whilst government runs up ever-increasing debts on the never never), are a way away. I hope they never return, because the immoral theft from generations as yet unborn is the real outrage.

    If the state didn’t take such a huge chunk of the pie, those in employment might actually find it worth working without the need for a massive tax and redistribution apparatus which keeps them grateful to government for tax credits. Eventually the end will come, because the welfare state is inherently unsustainable (being essentially a Ponzi scheme).

    However, for those that think everyone has a right to a job, please go ahead and create some.

    • Simon Jones says:

      I don’t think that is the point of the post at all. You’ve clearly just come here to post a political point without any reference to any facts or data (and in the interests of balance, I should add that I consider the previous comment, on foodbanks, in the same light). Rick has written a series of articles about self-employment of which this is the latest, I’d suggest you read the series to see the macroeconomic point he is making

      • John says:

        The implicit point that Rick is making is that this is just part of a programme to massage the unemployment figures by the current coalition government.
        They are not alone in that.
        Previous attempts to massage unemployment figures by previous governments included raising the school-leaving age and, in his memoirs, Alan Clark said that most of the time he spent as a junior minister in the Employment Department involved him in making up around 30 different changes to the way in which unemployment figures were calculated.
        Virtually all of the re-calculations ended up with the unemployment rate being lowered.
        The current government makes much of the fact that they have created 1.2 million new “apprenticeships” since taking office. What many people may not realise is that these “apprentices” are paid just £2.68 per hour for the first year of their “apprenticeship”.
        I have no idea as to how many make it to the end of the year in order to be rewarded with the national minimum wage pay levels, though I suspect the answer is “Not many”.
        Young people I have discussed this with have also added the further criticism that these “apprenticeships” are just a form of cheap labour, during which little of any real value is learned which might enhance their future employability.
        Retail “apprentices”, for example, find themselves just stacking shelves all day long, and learning nothing else which might add to their personal skills for future employment.

      • P Hearn says:

        Simon,

        I have read most of them, and commented on a few. They’re very long and involved, (a good thing), but inevitably one’s time is the constraint when looking into every link and reference. One has to accept the post largely at face value, and I do.

        So my point is political – what’s wrong with that? I think the current popular disdain for politics is the most worrying trend in modern life. Inane comments such as “politicians, they’re all the same” serve to mask a lazy indifference to the big issues of who is running the country, what they’re doing with our money, and that they’ve borrowed from our children.

        My [political] point is, we have a choice in this. Since WW2, in common with every other European country, we’ve chosen the ‘big state’ model, but nobody has every thought too hard exactly how we’re going to fund it. Government statistics are presented to show things are great, so everyone can get back to being a useful drone in their secure employment, knowing their employer will worry about their pension, or if not, the state will. This is going to end people! Please don’t be surprised about it.

        This infantilisation of the population is the real scandal here. I can quite agree with the author that much self-employment is nothing of the sort, but equally, I genuinely ask what is the alternative?

        Surprisingly few people can posit a solution that doesn’t involve more state spending until, presumably, the state spends every penny generated?

        • hstorm says:

          You make the mistake of assuming that the Big State can’t pay for itself. It can, and does.

          • P Hearn says:

            Accept the Big State CAN pay for itself.

            Don’t accept that it does. Ever. The government that made it do so would lose the next popularity contest that decides who gets to borrow (sorry, magic up) more money.

          • hstorm says:

            May I request that you kindly stop using the word ‘magic’? It is patronising and deceitful to use such juvenile terminology, as it misrepresents what I have been saying.

            Yes, the Big State pays for itself. It hasn’t over the last thirty years, but then we haven’t had a Big State during that period.

            Consider that there was uninterrupted growth in the UK for 25 years from the late-1940’s to the early-1970’s. It is the only time in recorded British history that economic growth was maintained over such a long period, during which time the Welfare State was built from the ground up. Because of that, more of the population had money, and were healthier and lived longer, and so were able to spend more, and to work more effectively – hence better cash circulation throughout society.

            This was happening in spite of the fact that the British Empire, with all its leached resources of yesteryear, was gradually being dismantled.

            The only recession in the era before the rise of Margaret Thatcher came in 1973-74 as a result of the OPEC Oil Shock, which was something beyond any single-nation-economy’s power to control – Big State or Free Market, a recession was inevitable with fuel costs spiralling upwards in such a rush, as manufacturing and transport industries couldn’t cope with such a spike in overheads. But the state was blamed by the right-wing so often and so routinely for it that it simply stopped being questioned that, somehow, the state was ‘too expensive’ and ‘a burden’, without there ever being any coherent or measurably-proven demonstration of what the state was doing wrong.

            Since the Tories dismantled the post-war state institutions, by contrast, we have had three enormous recessions, and now, alongside the insistence that Government outgoings should be no higher than tax receipts (bar through pointless borrowing), the country has been ‘forced’ by the biggest recession of the lot to bail out the banking industry, but without taking control over that industry. The free market, as ever, wants all the benefits it can get from the Big State, but without having any corresponding duty to answer to it. That is where the recent crisis originates, not with people receiving £50-odd per week in benefits, nor in ‘overgrowth of the state’ (usually left undefined) – we are not having problems paying for the state at all, we are having problems paying for the free market. (Of course, we could pay off the bailout debt in one big go if we really wanted to, just by instructing the Bank Of England to distribute the full amount to its creditors – once again all it would have to do is just change numbers on its computers, instead of trying to ‘gather’ cash from elsewhere first – but that would cause a painful inflation surge that everyone could do without. So it’s actually preferable just to keep paying debts off only as they fall due, which is what we are doing anyway.)

            Money is a token, it is not a resource. Money BEGINS with Government. When a new state is set up from scratch, the Government issues the money, the private sector does not. The Government imposes taxes in order to create a demand for its currency i.e. to get the population to co-operate with the national needs, and it can issue as much or as little as it feels is appropriate to the size of its population. It can also increase or decrease the supply in the same way as the population size goes up or down.

            To say that the Government needs to borrow or gather money is like saying the referee at a football match needs to ‘borrow’ or ‘gather’ goals before he can award them to the teams for putting the ball in the net. Therefore, the Government is not ‘magically’ producing money when it distributes funds, it is simply doing what it has done all the time.

            And making the state pay for itself would not, in itself, cost it popularity. Misleading rhetoric in the media will have that effect, but only because the media tend to present it in precisely the terms you do i.e. talking about an economy like it’s a household budget, and all the usual clichéd nonsense about ‘living within our means’ and ‘taxing generations yet unborn’ etc. If a Government wants to pay for itself, all it has to do is quietly keep making payments through the Bank Of England, which happens automatically every day, regardless of what money comes in from the other direction. Hardly anyone understands this process anyway, let alone objects to it. It would only be by trying to pay for it *through taxation alone* that unpopularity would ensue, but it doesn’t have to be done that way, and strictly speaking, it never is.

            Borrowing is a ridiculous method of Governments obtaining funds, but not because of hackneyed codswallop about “taxing future generations”. The reason Governments do it instead of using Quantitative Easing is that they fear that issuing fresh money will cause inflation (as though inflation doesn’t happen anyway). But what they don’t seem to realise is that the money they borrow from banks is *also* fresh money created on the banks’ computers, so we have the same inflationary effect anyway, but also, later on the Government has to pay interest on top of returning what was borrowed, carrying the inflationary effect even further. It’s pointless and so they should just leave out the middleman and issue the money directly.

          • Big Bill says:

            You’ll be aware of the Economic Research Council’s little book on the subject, the one which rather gave the game away in 1981, ‘Government Debt and Credit Creation’? http://www.ercouncil.org/historical-archives/ This was the book which illustrated how the government was spending new money into the economy.

    • P Hearn, I am only a poor pensioner, but I am quite unable to see how working hard for a British company for years, for a good wage and conditions, and getting a pension at the end is a theft from great grandchildren yet unborn. I DO think that instead of paying good wages, with good conditions, big companies now are simply stashing money away so that it can’t be taxed (for roads, education, health etc on which they rely for their company to do business) so that our children end up paying for it all, plus the wars that are so good for trade. Debts are increasing rapidly, because of this,despite a massive lowering of workers wages and conditions, and an increasingly rapacious attitude to the environment by companies. We owe it to our children to tip the balance in favour of ordinary people again – we were never so well off as when we were more equal (not exactly equal, as that would tend to make us uncompetitive, but not so bad that we would kill our grandmothers to make a buck as now). Running a small business is not well supported by governments, while huge multinationals get all the breaks. We sold off our industries to foreign competitors, and then made it easy for them to make profit by selling us the stuff back. There is so much that is wrong, but to blame it on the older generation, who fought and sometimes suffered to ensure that everyone got a fair share, while saying nothing about those who told our children that cooperating as workers to ensure we got a fair share of profits would kill off our induustries, which the government then sold anyway, and ignoring that a few powerful people are actively creating the conditions to ensure our grandchildren suffer, is probably a bit over the top!! US unions continually produce figures to show that companies who treat workers fairly actually are more profitable. Let us hope the message gets through, and things change. ps we have the worst pensions in the world except Mexico, so don’t blame our generous pensions!! Taxation of the big avoiders would make the funding of a decent pension look like peanuts. I feel sorry for those who are not self employed because they want to be, but because it is the only option. From those I know of, they are very unhappy. I do want cosy employment for life for the grandchildren, together with a welfare state and NHS if they have problems, and would be quite happy to pay high taxes for them to get it – so maybe it is those with your mindset who are the problem?? The welfare state is not a ponzi scheme, unless you privatise it, it is a service for which we pay as taxpayers, and if people did not begrudge paying for education,
      someone else’s childs life to be saved etc, and try their best to avoid it, then it would thrive.

      • Florence says:

        Couldn’t have put it better myself. Those who call the welfare state “a Ponzi scheme” are just regurgitate the phrase, with scant understanding of either the way the state organises or the way Ponzi schemes actually operate. And probably even less understanding of what the majority of peoples life experiences are.

        The post-WWII years were marked by a massive reduction in inequality. This was because with the war-time and post-war shortages, and the political will of te people for the creation of decent housing and the welfare state, the rich (individuals and companies) saw that hey needed to contribute too, and that greed would not play well.

        Since the ’80’s it has all gone back to the pre-war mentality, accelerating under this government propelling us back to the 19th century. It is the hovering up of assets, money and power by the same old classes that is robbing us of all our presents and futures, not the company pensions, the disabled and other unwaged.

        The current situation of people forced into bogus self-employment to escape the relentless pressure and threat of sanctions is pitiful. They will have a hard time if/when the inland revenue decide that their “business activity” is not, in fact, a business. They can demand repayment of all in work benefits if this happens. So much for the entrepreneurs told to become Avon ladies or EBay traders by A4e et al. We have become inured to the sight of families scavenging rubbish dumps in other countries, but it is the same there as here – self-employed. I hope, that we will not see the similar happening here, once the welfare state has been dismantled and the poor cast aside. I ask – where will the poor get their EBay stock, without capital? Where will the sanctioned get food (already courses in safe skip dining are being held) when the food banks collapse under the weight of demand? This is not a Ponzi scheme, it is a fight for dignity, health and survival against those who have the most, and yet still want more.

        • Big Bill says:

          All true, after the war many were so shocked by events there had to be a temporary respite in leeching off the workers by the parasitic classes as they knew they couldn’t get away with it for the time being. Now, though, it’s back to business as usual. Well, the backlash to the war create al manner of good things, perhaps the backlash to what’s building now will wipe out the Establishment, parasites all of them.

          • Florence says:

            We can wish. I expect if there is a major backlash (probably rioting) it will be used as an excuse to criminalise poverty, rather than tackle it. I think if we can survive to the next election to put the boot in on them, they will pull back to their country estates and enclaves of wealth, with the closed shop still for the best (unskilled & massively well paid) jobs, go quiet for a while, and keep on pushing from behind the scenes. What will it take to make these parasites seen for what they are?

      • John says:

        I agree with virtually everything Jean says above. My understanding is that most of the people being forced to beg for food from food banks go there not because they want to but because they literally have no food for themselves and their families.
        This situation has been created by the changes in benefits introduced by the current coalition government.
        The flawed introduction of Universal Credit by IDS has resulted in many people either losing part or most of their previous benefit incomes.
        This, for example, has affected a medically retired former service man locally here in Watford, who is one among 3,000 people forced to use food banks in Watford last year.
        As a member of the Green Party, I believe they have the right policy in promoting the idea of a national minimum income level. As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it is scandalous that we have any forms of poverty at all. Instead of linking income to work, we believe there should be a national minimum income for all adults in the UK.
        As Jean points out above, most of us now receiving a very modest state pension have worked for the best part of 40 years to get it, paying in to the system all that time.
        One final point arising from one of the other contributors: as – I believe – Rick has pointed out on a number of previous occasions, one of the principal reasons UK businesses are failing to pick up to the same degree as previously is due to low levels of capital investment. This temporarily boosts profits – to the benefit of senior managers and shareholders – but, in the longer run, accounts for far lower levels of productivity being achieved by British workers and companies. This is another factor which explains why UK residents seemingly are seeing little benefit from a modest upturn in the economy.

      • P Hearn says:

        The paragraph is a great invention.

        If the state pension isn’t a Ponzi scheme, can you point me to the huge investment pool, built up since WW2, that’s funding it?

        I’ll save you a moment: there isn’t one. It relies on there being an ever expanding pool of workers to support what’s going to be a steadily increasing pensioner group. Without reform, it will collapse one day, and simply wishing otherwise isn’t going to change that fact.

        • hstorm says:

          WHEN will it collapse? What exactly will happen when it collapses? How exactly does the money ‘run out’, when, by definition, the money is ‘created’ or ‘destroyed’ entirely at the Government’s whim?

          There is no money ‘pool’, no. But that’s because there’s no great need for one.

          • P Hearn says:

            It will collapse when the government can no longer print money to sustain the system because said money has no value or credibility internationally.

            As to when – anyone’s guess. Hope not to be around to see it, but my kids probably will.

          • hstorm says:

            That didn’t really answer me. When exactly? Just saying, “Anybody’s guess” is just a way of saying you’re making it up.

            Why would the Government need the money to ‘have credibility internationally’ (again left undefined)?

    • hstorm says:

      The myth of “taxing generations yet unborn” is one of the most damaging and nonsensical cliches of right-wing propaganda. The ‘National Debt’ is not what you think it is at all, and there is nothing wrong with the state providing work instead of the private sector.

      • P Hearn says:

        Do please elucidate. Is the national debt a myth? If so, let’s write it off and move on.

        • hstorm says:

          In a manner of speaking, yes. People thinking of the National Debt like a household debt, but it isn’t, and any country that issues its own currency can pay off any amount that falls due as easily as a few strokes on the keyboard of a PC.

          When money is borrowed (a needless activity in itself for a Government with its own currency, but we’ll leave that for now), the money is transferred from the bank to the Bank of England, which sets up a deposit account in the name of the lender, with the exact amount lent credited to it. When the debt falls due, all that happens is the BoE simply closes the deposit account, and then sets up a current account for the identical amount, plus the interest. That’s it. That’s all that happens. There is no physical money involved, it’s just numbers changing on a computer. So long as the Government controls its own money supply, it can keep making payments, and won’t even need to use tax money to do it; in reality, money that is taxed by Government does NOT pay for services as such. The money that gets deducted from wages and through VAT simply ceases to ‘exist’. Governments try to keep a balance between taxes and spending to try and rein in inflation, but it’s not an essential part of the public finances at all, and doesn’t work very reliably anyway. The real reason why Governments need to impose taxes is to create a demand for their own currencies, and the real reason they raise or lower taxes is, again, to contain inflation; when spending is manic, an increase in taxes will calm things down, and when the economy is sluggish, a cut in taxes can invigorate things a bit.

          Getting rid of the deficit, furthermore, would not be a great move at all. By definition, any public debt that is discontinued will simply become private debt for individual citizens as they become forced to take up the added burden left by the lost services. You might respond with the cliched old, “We must learn to stand on our own two feet” argument, but that doesn’t take into account unfortunate knock-on effects of the cuts to services. When people have to find extra money to pay for services that were previously publicly funded, this leads them to divert personal funds away from the businesses they used to purchase from. The private sector, therefore, loses sales, causing an economic slowdown.

          ANY time the public sector finances are in surplus, within a couple of years there will almost certainly be a crash, or at least a big slowdown, because the private sector loses money and may even have to lay off large numbers of staff to stay in the black. (As US President, Bill Clinton achieved a surplus in 2000, and within two years there was a crash in the US economy. People put that down to George W Bush, but in all fairness, it probably had nothing to do with him – although as he would have pursued similar ‘debt-cutting’ policies, he doesn’t deserve much sympathy.)

          In short, the National Debt is ‘real’, but is not remotely what people think it is, and is also not remotely the emergency/crisis that the Tories make it out to be. That was always just an excuse to dismantle the public sector to conform to their neoliberal-gobbledegook ideology.

          • P Hearn says:

            Ah! The old “we issue the currency, so it’s not real debt” line.

            Would you expand your analysis to include the effects of such ‘magic money’ on Sterling internationally, the imported inflation effect thus resulting, capital flight, bond interest and so forth? By extension of your theory, running massive deficits is a good thing, and the bigger the deficit the better, lest we have a surplus and cause a crash.

            Might it be that a tax surplus is a symptom of a booming economy with buoyant tax revenues and not the cause?

            I’m quite old, and recall when we tried the “it’s not real debt” approach in the 1970s: it didn’t end well. Unfortunately it turned out to be a little more real than Denis Healey thought, and he had to go begging to the IMF as whisking up more money in the BoE had come to an end. (Actually, I do Healey a grave disservice there, as his was a lone voice of sanity at the time, but like Moyes, he carried the can.for the policy.)

            I wish you well with your theory, and when Labour wins the next election, I’m quite sure the theory will be put to the test.

          • hstorm says:

            “By extension of your theory, running massive deficits is a good thing, and the bigger the deficit the better, lest we have a surplus and cause a crash.”

            No, that’s not what I said at all. Please do not invent ‘extensions’, and also do not twist my words into ‘the Debt isn’t real’. Not only did I not say that, I quite explicitly said it IS real, only that it isn’t what people such as yourself think it is. It is not a HOUSEHOLD debt.

            And no, I am not encouraging huge deficits for their own sake at all. Excessively large deficits cause inflation to race out of control because the manic spending involved causes demand to exceed supply, pushing up prices.

            What I am arguing is that Debts will be paid off consistently and more or less automatically, and taxes can be used to cool off any inflationary effects of that by simply writing off the monies brought in.

            I would also argue that sometimes Government spending needs to be cut – BUT ONLY AT TIMES OF HIGH EMPLOYMENT AND CONSISTENT LONG-TERM GROWTH IN INDUSTRY. At those times, Government spending is less necessary as more members of the public, and more parts of the private sector, will have money to spend themselves – and indeed high Government spending will therefore cause excess demand and inflation once more. Government spending needs to be highest at times of economic hardship, as it can be used to reduce or prevent unemployment, and to keep the product of the market fully sold up/consumed, and the circulation of capital can be maintained.

            “Might it be that a tax surplus is a symptom of a booming economy with buoyant tax revenues and not the cause?”

            Yes, but that’s a separate subject. And once again, you have shamelessly twisted my words through 180 degrees. I never said at any time that a tax surplus is the cause of a vibrant economy. On the contrary, I said in the medium term a surplus is likely to cause a CRASH, or at least a slowdown, because it means parts of the market’s product are not being consumed/sold, meaning loss of sales in the tertiary sector, leading to reduction of cash circulation, which makes job lay-offs more likely (as companies try to reduce overheads to compensate for the reduced profits). More job lay-offs mean fewer people will have money, meaning more market product goes unconsumed, leading to more lay-offs etc. Hence, the larger the surplus, the bigger the crash that is likely to follow.

            Your frequent apparent need to change the meaning of what I’m saying into its diametric opposite perhaps tells a tale about how confident you really are in your own arguments.

            “I wish you well with your theory, and when Labour wins the next election, I’m quite sure the theory will be put to the test.”

            It’s not my theory – Modern Monetary Theory has been around for many, many years and encouraged by economists of far more expertise than I will ever have – and no it won’t be put to the test by a Labour Government. The top brass in Labour don’t appear to be aware of it, and in fact are almost as uncompromisingly neoliberal as the other mainstream parties. Just because you can remember the dim-and-distant days when Labour was a socialist party, that doesn’t mean it is one now.

  6. Mil says:

    Reblogged this on http://error451.me and commented:
    Interesting data and thoughts from Rick on the subject of self-employment in Britain. Longish read, as is his wont, but fascinating, as – equally – is his custom.

  7. Pingback: Diddling the workers was never just diddling the workers, now was it? | http://error451.me

  8. Mike Sivier says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    Here we find evidence of the ‘bogus hairdresser’ phenomenon – that increasing numbers of people are declaring themselves to be self-employed without actually having jobs. This article is useful as it provides figures to support the claim, with graphs showing that the number of people saying they were self-employed shot up shortly after the rules changed on April 29 last year, with an increased burden on the tax credit system. There has recently been a sharp drop in the declared earnings of people who say they are self-employed, but earnings figures are published almost two years after the relevant tax year, so it will be January 2016 before we see what all this jiggery-pokery has done to self-employment earnings.

  9. more smoking mirrors it seems but they who claim a benefit will be paying it back to the dwp has they had help off them but didn’t earn enough or work those hours a double whammy they get to pay it back didn’t rtu ids do well again

  10. hstorm says:

    Reblogged this on TheCritique Archives and commented:
    The Government has been using ‘self-employment’ status as a bribe to fiddle the jobless figures – the Working Tax Credit is a better support mechanism than Job-Seeker’s Allowance, so they push the jobless into registering, and that makes it look like unemployment has gone down.

    In truth, the jobless figures have been fiddled perpetually for over 30 years, and have long-since been meaningless.

  11. ravenswyrd1 says:

    Work Choice for the disabled, providers have been pushing their clients in to inappropriate on unsusatainable self employment as well…Dxxx

  12. Pingback: Self employment, money and post-crash economics « alittleecon

  13. Pingback: Can and should FE support #UKStartUps? | BB2 Collaborative

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