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Self-employed need more support, says Cambridge Satchel boss

The government must reduce the burden of red tape on the self-employed, the founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company has warned.

Julie Deane

Julie Deane has made 10 recommendations to improve conditions for the self-employed – covering all sectors, from independent fashion retailers to farmers – after prime minister David Cameron asked her to carry out an independent review last July.

The recommendations include educating young people to prepare them for the possibility they may be self-employed in the future, including teaching them about finance, cash flow, book keeping and taxation.

Deane has also called on the government to slash the administrative burden on the self-employed, particularly when it comes to tax. She has suggested producing a single definition of self-employment for tax and employment law purposes.

Self-employed people should have access to more flexible financial solutions, from mortgages and insurance to pensions, she added, while the maternity and adoption allowance for the self-employed should be brought in line with statutory pay levels.

“I wanted to come up with recommendations that wouldn’t break the bank – we know the country doesn’t have money to burn,” Deane told Drapers

“The only way I would spend some of the busiest six months of the year doing this review is if I honestly thought I could make a difference. I started The Cambridge Satchel Company from scratch with £600 and that was without borrowing or going overdrawn, so I think the government recognised I’m very practical.

“Banks and financial institutions have failed to notice the massive shifts happening in the labour markets. That certainty of a stable traditional job has gone for a lot of people. But people still want to buy their homes and save for retirement – so they need more flexibility.

“The government must recognise the self-employed as an important part of the economy.”

The report has been sent to Number 10. Deane said she hoped some of her recommendations would be enacted as part of the Budget on March 16.

“I’m hopeful to at least have the opportunity to discuss it with the chancellor [George Osborne].”

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