Nearly two-thirds of self-employed workers in Britain are confident that they will take on more work this year, according to research from specialist lender Kensington Mortgages.
The research showed optimism rising among self-employed workers even amid the ongoing uncertainty about Brexit.
The self-employed account for more than 15 per cent of Britain’s workforce and the number has increased sharply from 3.3m people in 2001 to 4.8m in 2017. In 2018, a further 81,000 people in Britain declared themselves self-employed.
UK mortgage lenders have tried to adapt to the growing number of self-employed people and some brokers believe they will be a key component in the future mortgage market. The most popular search from brokers using Knowledge Bank last year was for lenders who would accept self-employed applicants with just one year’s accounts.
Digital technology, which helps more people than ever to work remotely, is believed to be a factor in the increase in self-employment and the Kensington research showed that 89 per cent of self-employed workers believe new technology will have a positive impact on their business. Forty-seven per cent think it will help them make more money.
Overall, there were some regional disparities with 69 per cent of self-employed workers in the north west of England feeling confident about their business but only 54 per cent in Scotland expressing similar confidence.
‘A priority for the entire industry’
Craig McKinlay, new business director at Kensington Mortgages, said:
“Considering wider economic and political uncertainty, it’s refreshing to see such optimism and open-mindedness among the UK’s self-employed workforce. Anyone who is self-employed could tell you that it’s never easy, especially when first starting out. This growing optimism though is a sign of changing times.
“Providing this vital group of the UK economy with the right financing needs to be a priority for the entire industry. Self-employed workers are keen to embrace the latest technology and it’s crucial that lenders do the same. By combining technology, big data and human underwriting, specialist lenders are able to gain a much better picture of self-employed workers and their unique circumstances, which makes it easier for these individuals to get the finance they need.”