Prospect joins call for new Freelance Commissioner

20 November 2020

Prospect has called on the Chancellor to introduce a new Freelance Commissioner ahead of his spending review on 25th November.

The call comes in a joint letter co-signed by the Creative Industries Federation, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

It comes amid a widespread crisis among self-employed and freelance workers who have been left of of support schemes established by the government.

Prospect is currently running the Inquiry into the Future of Self-Employment aimed at addressing the long term challenges facing these workers. More information about the Inquiry can be found here.

on laptop

The full letter to the Chancellor reads:


Dear Chancellor

Introduction of a Freelance Commissioner and Future Workforce Commission

We are writing this letter in coalition because we strongly believe that freelancers and creative entrepreneurs are central to the future of UK industry and our post-pandemic recovery.

As you know, the National Audit Office recently confirmed what many of us have been articulating for some time, which is that many self-employed and freelance workers have been unable to claim from either the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, with some ineligible even for benefits. These workers have enabled UK sectors like the creative industries to be highly innovative, fast- growing and world-leading, but we’re at real risk of losing those people and skills forever.

For years, industries have embraced many different types of working arrangements, with the self-employed working alongside employees in a highly agile and effective way – arrangements that the UK will need to increasingly adopt if we are to retain the quality of our product and global competitiveness. However, the inequity of support between these workers has undermined this relationship and has the propensity to have long-term negative impacts on our economy and society if we don’t act now.

We have a very simple recommendation and ask – one that you’ll be delighted to hear is non-fiscal – which is to establish a Freelance Commissioner and Future Workforce Commission so that we can really get under the skin of how we build more resilience into this workforce and ensure no worker falls through the gaps.

The Commission could mirror the existing industry Councils – such as the Professional Services Council and Creative Industries Council – co-chaired by government ministers, and look to convene representatives of or freelance workforce and entrepreneurs and the organisations that support them, across all UK nations, regions and industries.

The Freelance Commissioner should work closely with this group to drive change in government and business, turning ideas into action and eradicating red tape. With this Commission and Commissioner, we can collectively ensure that the UK champions innovation and entrepreneurialism as we emerge from the pandemic and re- establish ourselves on the world stage.

We recognise that the responsibility to support this vital part of our workforce is just as much on industry and society as it is on government. As such, we – the Creative Industries Federation, IPSE, Federation of Small Businesses and Prospect – would like to put ourselves forward to help make the above happen and request to explore this with you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Norbury MBE Chief Executive Creative Industries Federation Derek Cribb CEO IPSE Martin McTague National Vice Chair FSB Mike Clancy General Secretary Prospect