Conservatives urged to embrace freelancing revolution

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The new Conservative government has been urged to recognise contracting and freelancing as a positive alternative to traditional employment.

Recruitment trade body APSCo (Association of Professional Staffing Companies) called on the incoming majority administration to “understand the desire of highly paid, knowledge-based professionals to create portfolio careers.”

Re-iterating its desire to see the appointment of a junior government minister with responsibility for flexible staffing, APSCo also said it would push for the creation of a new regulatory framework that distinguishes professional contractors from vulnerable workers.

Samantha Hurley, head of external relations and compliance at APSCo, said: “We believe that government needs to move away from thinking about traditional permanent employment as the only valid form of engaging staff.

“It should recognise and value the many different types of engagement being utilised in today’s market and, crucially, understand the various motivations driving these.”

In comments that will resonate with many recruiters, she added: “It is also crucial that any labour market strategy acknowledges the major differences within the UK recruitment sector.

“Access to highly skilled, professional talent, supplied in the main through business-to-business arrangements, requires a different legislative programme to that required for the attainment of low-paid, potentially vulnerable workers.

“We firmly believe that our country’s global competitiveness is inexorably linked to the continued development and flexibility of its labour market.”

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has previously welcomed Tory plans to review how the self-employed can access maternity pay, pensions and mortgages.

Simon McVicker, director of policy and external affairs at IPSE, said: “It is encouraging that the Conservative small business manifesto outlines measures to support the UK’s growing self-employed army.

"Access to maternity pay and pensions for the self-employed were major aspects of our recent manifesto, and a review into this represents a significant step forward in getting this sector the recognition it deserves.”

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