In fact, a 660-strong survey of freelancers shows that 60 per cent believe their business will take a hit should the prime minister’s ‘deal,’ voted against last night by MPs, go ahead largely as it is.
But that still makes it more popular than ‘no deal’ — or ‘WTO terms,’ which 64 per cent of freelancers warn will adversely impact their one-person operation, found IPSE, which ran the survey in December.
Almost regardless of last night’s decisive vote against the PM’s Brexit deal, the IPSE findings point to a “large shift in freelancers’ opinion,” said IPSE’s deputy director of policy Andy Chamberlain.
Indeed, when the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) posed a similar question 12 months ago, only 44 per cent of independent workers were anti-Brexit.
Concerns over the single market for services dominate (troubling the biggest chunk of freelancers — about four in 10), and half as many worry about freedom of movement.
And contrary to popular belief that immigration inspired many Britons to vote ‘Leave,’ only 6 per cent of the freelancers said they wanted immigration from EU counties restricted.
More popular in terms of how many freelancers it troubles is the single market for goods — voiced by one in 10 of those who IPSE polled.
The association’s Mr Chamberlain translated freelancers’ fears into practical terms. “They fear large companies, who are important clients for them, may relocate their operations because of Brexit.
“Freelancers may also find it harder to access contracts in the EU,” he said, referring to the hefty 30 per cent of respondents whose contracts were based in non-UK, EU nations.
An immigration paper regarded as failing to adequately address the position of freelance workersmight be behind Mr Chamberlain talking of the ‘significant increase’ over the last 12 months in the proportion of freelancers worried about their business due to Brexit.
“Like everyone else, the self-employed are also worried that their living costs could increase, putting pressure on their finances,” he said.
“Freelancers are caught between a rock and a hard place on Brexit. They are clearly worried by the prospect of a ‘no deal’, however, they also feel the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement will freeze them out of future opportunities.”