Number of self-employed people on the up

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The number of people who are self-employed has gone up in the last few months, new figures have revealed.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 4.75 million people in the UK were self-employed in the three months to October 2016.

This is 129,000 up on the amount recorded in the same period of the previous year and accounts for 15 per cent of all those in work.

Responding to the figures, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said this rise in self-employment is "huge".

As a result, it believes government policy must keep pace with this emerging trend.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the FSB, commented: "There is much to do to improve our social security and financial systems in particular. 

"Social security and our tax system have not kept up with the changing nature of 21st century work."

"In maternity, low pay, pensions and the housing market, the self-employed lose out from systems designed for a different age."

Mr Cherry said it is therefore urgent that the government gets to grips with "the new reality of more people striking out on their own and working for themselves".

He described the government's Taylor review as a valuable chance to help improve the fortunes of the self-employed and the businesses they set up.

Mr Cherry insisted maternity support must be raised to a level closer with the employed and the design of Universal Credit changed so it is no longer "a threat to business start-ups". 

He added that the financial system must ensure self-employed people are given the same opportunity to buy their own homes and save for retirement as those in traditional employment.