We are the UK's self-employed

Too many people across the UK don’t understand what it means to be self-employed. From our sectors and jobs, our hours and pay, to the support we need. These are our stories.
Stephanie Shuttleworth
Stephanie Shuttleworth

“Due to a lack of understanding and misrepresentation, many people presume self-employed people are playing the system or at worst, that we’re tax dodgers fiddling the system. Had a union like Community not existed for us when coronavirus hit, that perception may have persisted and the government wouldn’t have been forced to offer us support package us through the earlier part of the pandemic.”

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Andrew Russell
Andrew Russell

“The best part of self-employment is being able to choose who I work with. I choose to work for teams with strong ethics, a desire to make positive change, and who have a realistic chance of doing so.”

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Helen Stephens
Helen Stephens

“When you’re self employed, if there’s no work to do, you’re effectively unemployed. But there’s no support for freelancers who are momentarily unemployed. We can’t claim job seekers allowance, because seeking a new customer isn’t the same as seeking regular employment.”

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Jessica Toale
Jessica Toale

” For much of the past two years I’ve been able to work from wherever I wanted and dial the work up and down as I saw fit. But this flexibility, and the perceived freedom that comes with it, throws up a whole ton of risk.”

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Andrea Campos-Vigoroux
Andrea Campos-Vigoroux

“Whilst other self-employed people could apply for Government grants, the fact that I’d been self-employed for just under a year meant that I was ineligible for these schemes.”

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Melody Schroeder
Melody Schroeder

“Self-employed are the UK’s forgotten through the pandemic.”

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David Nicoll
David Nicoll

“I’ve seen many business owners forced into self-employment because they work for larger organisations who see self-employed subcontractors as a cheap way to avoid paying minimum wage.”

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Rose Mason
Rose Mason

“People aren’t just ‘slipping through the cracks’, they are falling into the abyss.”

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Rachel Eden
Rachel Eden

“Sometimes I’ve heard it said that ‘even self-employed people need a union’. I disagree. Especially self-employed people need a union.”

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Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings

“Coronavirus has been a gut punch to self-employed people.”

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Georgia Platman
Georgia Platman

“I enjoy the unpredictability of working by and for myself. It has given me a sense of responsibility and self-worth that I never got from being employed.”

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Simon Perks
Simon Perks

“I have no idea what the future will hold. I worry that the pandemic will continue indefinitely. I worry that my clients will stop hiring people like me. I worry that the business I have built up over the last ten years will cease to support me and my family.”

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Ginny Taylor
Ginny Taylor

“As a freelancer, you have the flexibility and option of choosing when and whether to work, but you also have to have resilience to find the work.”

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Share your story

We want to share more stories of the UK’s self-employed workforce, and make sure all of our different experiences and voices are heard.

Are you self-employed or a freelancer? Do you want to share your story to help us educate the public, policy makers and politicians on what it means to be self-employed?

Share your story with us below.


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