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Almost half of all job created since 2010 are self employed, shows TUC figures

Ahead of the latest employment figures published later this week, latest TUC analysis shows that despite self-employment being a relatively small part of the UK jobs market - just one in seven workers are self-employed - it has accounted for 44% of all employment growth since the last election.

With pensioners, part-time workers and 'odd-jobbers' the fastest growing groups of Britain's new self-employed workforce.

Workers aged 50 plus account for half the increase in self-employment, with self-employed workers aged 65 and over the fastest growing group in the labour market (increasing by 29% since the end of 2010).

Over 40% of all the self-employed jobs created since mid-2010 are also part-time. Although the TUC is concerned that many people are only taking this kind of work because they are unable to find good quality employee jobs which provide the stable employment they really want.

The TUC's analysis also shows that the number of people starting their own businesses has fallen in recent years, in spite of rising self-employment. The biggest growth areas of self-employment since mid-2010 have been people working for themselves (up 232,000), freelancing (up 69,000) or sub-contracting (up 67,000).

The number of self-employed people who either run a business, or are a partner or sole director in one – positions usually associated with entrepreneurship – has actually fallen by 52,000. These figures show that rising self-employment is part of a wider shift towards insecure employment, rather than as a result of a growing number of people starting up new companies as ministers like to claim, says the TUC.

Self-employment has been going up steadily since early 2008, even when unemployment was rising sharply, and has increased even more in recent years.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Self-employment accounts for almost half of all the new jobs created under this government.

"But these newly self-employed workers are not the budding entrepreneurs ministers like to talk about. Only a tiny fraction run their own businesses, while the vast majority work for themselves or another employer - often with fewer rights, less pay and no job security.

"While some choose to be self-employed, many people are forced into it because there is no alternative work. The lack of a stable income and poor job security often associated with self-employment makes it hard for people to pay their bills, arrange childcare, plan holidays or even buy or rent a home.

"The economy is finally back in recovery yet people's wages are still shrinking and many are unable to find stable employment. Until we see decent pay rises and better job security, working people will continue to feel that the recovery is passing them by."

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