South West named as UK’s self employment growth capital

The South West is the UK’s self-employment growth capital despite the drop in the number of people working for themselves, new analysis from pension provider iSIPP shows.

Up to 40,000 more workers turned to self-employment in the South West taking the total to 438,000 – a 10% increase on the past year, according to the most recent Government data.

Just three other regions – Wales, Northern Ireland, and London – recorded increases in the number of self-employed in the past year. London has the most self-employed people at 757,000 out of the UK total of 4.243 million.

The numbers of self-employed people fell in every other region with the North East of England recording the biggest drop in numbers at 14% followed by the North West which saw a 6% decline. Across the UK the number of self-employed people fell by just 1%.

iSIPP believes a key reason for the drop in the numbers of self-employed is people returning to full-time employment to benefit from the safety of employer-funded pensions.

Its recent research shows one in six (16%) people who stopped pension saving entirely or who reduced contributions last year did so because of a change in their employment status.

Its analysis shows men are more likely to have stopped working for themselves – currently around 2.728 million men are self-employed which is nearly 4% lower than a year ago while the number of self-employed women at 1.515 million is up 1%.

iSIPP Managing Director Hrishi Kulkarni said: “Self-employment is going strong in the South West with the region recording a 10% increase in the number of people working for themselves despite the overall decline across the UK.

“While many value the freedom of working for themselves there are clearly benefits from working for an employer and a company pension scheme is a major attraction.

“People who have chosen the self-employed path should look to continue their pension contributions once they stop working for an employer. A previous iSIPP survey has found that 44% of self-employed do not contribute regularly to a pension, putting them at risk of having insufficient funds at retirement. Both self-employed as well as those who have gone back to full time employment should also consider combining any existing pensions as consolidation could substantially save money and help increase the funds available to them at retirement. iSIPP makes it easy to combine pensions, make contributions and gives you control over your investments.”

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