The introduction of a freelance tsar this month indicates the government are taking self-employed workers more seriously. General confidence is also up among Britain's army of small businesses and the self-employed but there is a large consensus that more needs to be done to encourage this growth in the new year.
The government celebrated National Freelancers’ Day this year in style, by appointing David Morris as the UK’s first ever self-employed ambassador.
Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs, said:
“The appointment of an ambassador for our sector shows that the Government are ready to take action on the issues facing the millions of people working independently across the UK. It is immensely encouraging to hear Mr Morris, MP for Morecambe & Lunesdale and a small business owner himself, will champion our cause at the very heart of Government.”
Small businesses confident on International trade
Small businesses are expecting to increase overseas trade in 2015, despite a disappointing year for Britain’s export sector, research from government-backed exporters’ forum, Open to Export, has found.
78% of SME exporters believe that 2015 will be a better year for trade, despite recent statistics from the ONS which indicate a drop in business investment and confidence.
The government wants the UK’s export sector to double in volume to £1 trillion by 2020, but critics say much more support is needed if this dream has any chance of becoming a reality.
Micro businesses not taking on employees
One in seven of the British workforce are now self-employed, yet only 3% took on and retained staff between 2007 and 2012.
A recent study by the RSA calls for a new approach to business support, one that considers behavioural and psychological patterns and experiments with different techniques to help small business owners combat the obstacles that are preventing them from recruiting and expanding their businesses.
Small businesses worried about finding new clients
More than one in three SMEs in the UK say that generating new business is their biggest concern for 2015, according to a study by commercial finance broker Hilton-Baird Financial Solutions.
The annual SME trends index questioned business owners and finance directors on a range of issues relating to their business’s performance and confidence over the past year. Other fears include cash flow management, with 15% of businesses citing it as their biggest fear, followed by concerns over access to funding at 10%.
Despite these fears, 55% of those surveyed said they remain optimistic and expect their business to expand next year, as long as the government continue to offer support for SMEs.
Cheers Sophie and we look forward to your December roundup at the end of the year.