Eighty-three percent of self-employed workers in Yorkshire have urged the Government for greater support, as numbers continue to fall by369,000 since April.

Nearly half of sole traders in the region (49%) have called for additional grants to support the sector, with a quarter insisting lower taxes are needed to boost the market. This follows criticism of the way, and the speed at which, the Government responded with emergency support measures for self-employed workers.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) went live on 13 May almost a month after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Government support launched in large part as a result of the pressure from the unions, the Federation of Small Businesses and freelancers themselves, who argued for consistency for the self-employed.

According to the survey released today, 83% of Yorkshire workers are hopeful of remaining in self-employment in a year’s time with additional support – this is in spite of the significant pressures facing the employment market.

The survey – commissioned by self-assessment tax software, GoSimpleTax – showed that, although the significant impact of COVID-19 on self-employed workers in Yorkshire has seen a fall in revenue (36%) and restricted trade (19%), the advantages of being self-employed are still the biggest drivers to working for yourself.

Mike Parkes, technical director at GoSimpleTax, commented: “The employment market as a whole has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, suffering the largest annual decrease since January to March 2010.

“This is particularly evident amongst self-employed workers, who across Yorkshire have seen revenues dented, customer losses and national and local lockdowns hampering trade. However, despite the fall in numbers, nearly three quarters of self-employed workers in the region are still confident of remaining as sole traders – driven in large part by the independence (74%) and career choice (40%) that being self-employed provides.”