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Disabled home workers account for 14% of self-employed workers © iStock

10 June 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

The number of self-employed disabled people has risen by 30 per cent in the past five years – but they are not getting enough support from the government, shows research by IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) and the Community trade union.


The number of disabled people working from home accounts for 14 per cent of the self-employed workforce, which amounts to approximately 611,000 people.


For the report, IPSE worked with research partner ComRes to get the views of disabled people, consulted experts from government, the charity sector and academia, and also analysed data from the Office for National Statistics to uncover more about this poorly understood group.


The findings reveal that over a quarter (27 per cent) of the disabled self-employed are qualified to degree level or equivalent – and over a fifth (21 per cent) are qualified to A-level or equivalent.


Nearly half (44 per cent) of all disabled self-employed people have been in self-employment for 10 or more years.


Of the proportion who have been self-employed for 10 years or longer, more than a quarter chose this way of working because of better work conditions or job satisfaction and the nature of their job or chosen career (22 per cent), followed by a desire to maintain or increase income (12 per cent).


The report’s recommendations include pressing the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that legacy benefits are continued while individuals are going through the process of applying and moving on to Universal Credit regardless of application deadlines.


Government should also support the establishment and growth of work hubs and should incentivise these through business rates relief. This would help “to combat loneliness and encourage entrepreneurialism among disabled and non-disabled freelancers”.


The report can be found here.