General Election 2024: What is in the Manifestos for Self-Employed Workers?

General Election manifestos

The General Election campaign is now well underway and all of the main parties have now released their manifestos.

With either the Labour Party or Conservatives set to form the next government following the 4th July election, self-employed workers will be keen to know what they are being promised in the manifesto.

Below we summarise the key points for freelancers from all of the main political parties’ manifestos to give you a good idea on what each of the parties’ is offering.

Note: We have focused on the ‘main’ political parties that have featured on national TV debates, and listed them below in alphabetical order.

Conservatives

Read the manifesto: https://manifesto.conservatives.com/

The Conservative Party manifesto lists one policy for self-employed workers – a promise to abolish the main rate of National Insurance for self-employed workers.

What the manifesto says:

  • “Cut taxes to support the self-employed by abolishing the main rate of self-employed National Insurance entirely by the end of the Parliament.”
  • “Last year, the main rate of National Insurance for the self-employed stood at 9%. To recognize the unique contribution of these risk-takers and entrepreneurs to our economy and the insecurity they face without the rights and protections that employees enjoy, we will abolish it entirely by the end of the next Parliament.”
Conservative Party logo

Green Party

Read the manifesto: https://greenparty.org.uk/about/our-manifesto/

There’s not a lot of specific support for freelancers in the Green Party manifesto, which doesn’t have any mentions of the phrase ‘self-employed’ at all. The manifesto focuses mostly on workers rights, specifically mentioning ‘gig economy’ workers.

What the manifesto says:

  • “Deliver equal rights for all workers currently excluded from protections, including ‘gig economy’ workers and those on ‘zero hours’ contracts.”
Green Party

Labour Party

Read the manifesto: https://labour.org.uk/change/

The Labour Party manifesto groups the issues facing the self-employed with small businesses in general, but does single out a policy around late payments that could be of interest to self-employed workers.

What the manifesto says:

  • “Labour’s plan for economic growth has been developed for all UK businesses. But small firms, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed face unique challenges. That is why, in partnership, Labour has developed a plan for small businesses – the lifeblood of communities and high streets across the country.
  • “We will take action on late payments to ensure small businesses and the self-employed are paid on time.”
Labour Party

Liberal Democrats

Read the manifesto: https://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto

The Lib Dem manifesto has a lot to say about self-employed workers, including the promise to review the controversial IR35 reforms, the creation of a new ‘dependent contractor’ employment status in-between employment and self-employment, extending parental pay and leave rights to self-employed parents with the ambition to eventually give each self-employed parent six weeks of leave (paid at 90% of earnings) and 46 weeks in total to share between them.

What the manifesto says:

  • “End retrospective tax changes such as the loan charge brought in by the Conservatives, and review the Government’s off-payroll working IR35 reforms to ensure self-employed people are treated fairly.”
  • “Establishing a new ‘dependent contractor’ employment status in between employment and self-employment, with entitlements to basic rights such as minimum earnings levels, sick pay and holiday entitlement.”
  • “Improve the quality of vocational education, including skills for entrepreneurship and self-employment.”
  • “Making all parental pay and leave day-one rights, including for adoptive parents and kinship carers, and extending them to self-employed parents.”
  • “In the longer term, when the public finances allow, our ambition is to give all families (including self-employed parents, adoptive parents and kinship carers): - Six weeks of use-it-or-lose-it leave for each parent, paid at 90% of earnings. - 46 weeks of parental leave to share between themselves as they choose, paid at double the current statutory rate.”
Lib Dems

Plaid Cymru

Read the manifesto: https://www.partyof.wales/manifesto

Plaid Cymru’s manifesto promises to build on the promise made in their previous 2021 manifesto for the devolved Senedd elections to set up a ‘Welsh Freelancers Fund’ to provide a basic income to creative freelancers.

What the manifesto says:

Plaid Cymru

Reform UK

Read the manifesto: https://www.reformparty.uk/policies

As part of their stated aim to “back risk takers and wealth creators and make sure that Britain is open for business”, Reform UK are promising to abolish IR35 and lift the VAT threshold to £150,000, amongst other measures aimed at entrepreneurs and SMEs.

What the manifesto says:

  • Abolish IR35 Rules to Support Sole Traders - Britain’s self-employed often work longer hours and take more risks. Many have no pension and receive no sick pay.”
  • Lift the VAT Threshold to £150,000 - Free up small entrepreneurs from red tape.”
Reform UK

Written by

Luke Glassford

Marketing Director

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