Research

Fifth of freelancers forced to cease trading as a result of Covid-19

16 Jul 2020 By Siobhan Palmer

Majority have seen their earnings plummet as many fail to qualify for government support, survey reveals

Almost one in five freelancers will have to stop trading because of the coronavirus crisis, research by the University of Edinburgh Business School and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has found. 

A fifth (19 per cent) of the 1,400 freelancers surveyed said they expected to close their business because of the pandemic. Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) said they had lost income as a result of the outbreak, with an average drop in earnings of 76 per cent. The vast majority of respondents (80 per cent) said they had experienced increased stress levels since the crisis began. 

While the government introduced support for self-employed workers during lockdown (in the form of the self-employment income support scheme), the study noted that some freelancers had fallen through the cracks, with highly skilled workers and those who offered their services through a limited company less likely to qualify for the scheme. 

IPSE said the findings highlighted the need for government support to be extended and expanded, particularly for those in hospitality and the creative industries, whose work was likely to be disrupted for a significant period.

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