Self-employed workers taking home less today than 20 years ago, think tank figures show

Mark Sands
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The Uk Minimum Wage Of GBP5.05
May last month recruited Blair aide Matthew Taylor to review working practices (Source: Getty)

Self-employed workers are taking home less today than 20 years ago, according to new figures from the Resolution Foundation.

The think tank found that while the UK's self employed workforce has grown dramatically, average earnings remain below levels recorded in 1994/5.

Average weekly take home has recovered after falling by a quarter in the wake of the financial crisis, but still sits at around £240, Resolution Foundation said, 15 per cent down on 1994/5.

The policy experts said that this is partly due to the self-employed pool increasingly comprising lower income workers before the financial crisis, but added that since 2008, returns have been falling even on a like-for-like basis.

Typical earnings fell by £100 a week between 2006-07 and 2013-14, with the vast majority of this squeeze arising even after holding constant the characteristics of the self-employed group.

Last month, Downing Street recruited the leader of Tony Blair's policy unit to lead a review of modern working practices.

Resolution foundation economic analyst Adam Corlett said: “Modern self-employment is less likely to involve very long working weeks, and today’s workers are far less likely to be business owners with staff of their own. And while returns may have increased recently, many workers are still feeling the painful effects of the financial crisis.

“With so many self-employed workers earning so little, it is right that the government investigate how public policy should catch up to meet the needs of these workers.”

A spokesman for the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The government is committed to building an economy that works for everyone and while the National Living Wage has given one million workers a pay rise, the Prime Minister has made clear the labour market must support and protect all workers."

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