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A new report calls for the setting-up of a high street centres to support the self employed.
A progressive vision for self employment which meets the needs of a growing workforce is urgently needed, according to a new report, which calls for the setting-up of high street support centres for the self employed.
The report by the New Economics Foundation think tank says that while the government has an important role to play in addressing exploitation, there is a need to empower the self-employed workforce to determine for themselves the type of work and conditions they engage in.
The report says that self employed peopled currently have little in the way of rights or social and practical support. It adds that access to resources provided by the private sector, such as co-working centres and childcare, “are determined largely by income levels and social capital”.
The lack of a supportive infrastructure “inhibits the ability of people in self-employment to enjoy the autonomy that this form of work promises”. It calls for innovation and new standards that adapt quickly to changing circumstances, focusing on three main areas, including the provision of high street support centres, ensuring parity of rights and social security for a growing self-employment workforce and ensuring a collective voice and the enforcement of rights for a more insecure workforce.
The high street centres would provide learning and skills support, peer support, advice, the space for collective action and help to revive high streets, says the report. They would be commissioned by but independent of local authorities, seed-funded by Covid money on an outcomes-based commissioning model, exempt from tax and run on a public social partnership model.
The report highlights in particularly the issues faced by self employed women and calls for the establishment of flexible and free or affordable childcare to suit the schedules of self-employed workers paid for through an emergency Childcare Infrastructure Fund.
Other recommendations include a review of the benefits system, including a permanent national guarantee of minimum income to replace Universal Credit, a shared parental leave levy, action on late payment of invoices, pensions access and provision of access and meeting space for trade unions and self-employment associations .