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UK Freelancers Call For Greater Recognition In 2007

by Robert Lee,, London

05 January 2007

In his New Year message to members, the leader of the Professional Contractors Group, which represents the interests of the UK’s freelance community called on government, industry and trades unions to recognise the “third way” of working.

David Ramsden, who chairs the Professional Contractors Group, said the organisation's biggest challenge is "to get across the very simple message that not everyone chooses to be either an employer or an employee".

He added: "For too long, employment and tax legislation has been based on the notion that there are only two ways of working. Successive governments have always talked in terms of bosses or workers; Europe cannot conceive of another way except in its recognition of ‘les artisans’ and the assumption is always that today’s sole trader is tomorrow’s Richard Branson or Alan Sugar.”

The PCG has announced that in 2007 it will spearhead a major independent research project to find out how many freelancers there are in the UK, how they came to choose that way of working and the issues that are of greatest concern to them. “Our membership is growing and that alone tells me that more and more people are choosing to go freelance," said Ramsden.

"In every other walk of life, we celebrate diversity but not when it comes to work. Our task is to continue to represent those tens of thousands of people – creative, innovative, independent, flexible and mobile - who play such a valuable part in the local, national and global economy," he added.

“My prediction for next year is the research findings will surprise an awful lot of people," Ramsden concluded.

The PCG was formed in May 1999 to provide independent contractors and consultants with a representative voice in opposition to the original IR35 tax proposals.

Since then, the organisation has evolved from being a single-issue campaign group to being a fully fledged, not-for-profit professional body representing knowledge workers who choose to be self-employed.

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