The government coincided the celebration of National Freelancer Day yesterday with the appointment of Morecambe and Lunesdale MP, David Morris as the UK's first ever freelance tsar.
Organised each year by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), National Freelancers Day celebrates the rise of freelance workers, including limited company contractors, umbrella company contractors and sole traders, and providing a “nurturing environment” for these individuals.
Now in its 6th year, the event kicked off with an introduction by host and freelance broadcaster Sue Lawley, OBE. Following her speech, IPSE chairman Julie Stewart’s shared her vision for the future of IPSE before declaring results of the Fifteen for 2015 competition.
The evening, which was recorded and live streamed from Tech City in London, saw MP Morris open with a short introductory speech before providing insights into some of the priorities of his new role before the 2015 election. These include a focus on issues such as maternity and paternity pay for contractors/self-employed and taxation. He proposed that he “will be having meetings with the Chancellor very shortly” to discuss “areas of reducing VAT in certain sectors of business”.
Speaking on Sue Lawley’s suggestion to merge NI with income tax, MP Morris said, “NI and income tax have always been linked in some way. We’ve got to start looking at how we are going to progress into the future with the taxation regime we have now and how we can adapt it. We can’t rip up the rule book and start again, however we can amend the rule book to make it easier for us to flourish.”
And when Mr Morris was introduced to the London audience he remarked in zest, “Talk about being thrown into the deep end!”
He added, “Before becoming a Member of Parliament, I was self-employed for 30 years. It’s a privilege to be your voice, listen to what you say and to articulate that further.”
We welcome the government’s decision to appoint the first ever self-employed ambassador and hope this will pave a better future for a 4.6 million strong freelancer population across the UK.
Here are key highlights from the event:
- Opening introduction by host and freelance broadcaster Sue Lawley, OBE
- IPSE chairman Julie Stewart shares her vision for the future of IPSE
- The results of the Fifteen for 2015 competition are declared
- Journalist and presenter, Declan Curry delivers keynote speech
- A debate featuring questions from the audience and from the video-linked Manchester and Edinburgh events
- MP David Morris deliver insights into some of his plans for 2015
- Chief executive, IPSE, Chris Bryce delivers closing speech concluding that NFD 2014 was “thrilling” and the “best yet”