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Downturn sparks surge in self-employment


The number of self-employed workers in the UK has risen by almost 10% since the start of the recession, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).


A new report by the ONS has found that 367,000 more people were self-employed in 2012 when compared to the start of the financial crisis in 2008.


Of this figure, more than 200,000, or 60%, became self-employed between 2011 and 2012.


Conversely, the number of employees has fallen by 434,000 over the last four years.


The total number of self-employed workers now stands at 4.2 million, with those aged over 50 thought to be driving the ‘revolution in self-employment’.


‘There may be perfectly good reasons for being self-employed, but it would be naive to think that all these workers are really budding entrepreneurs,’ commented the TUC's general secretary Frances O'Grady.


‘Self-employment is normally a very small part of the workforce, so the fact it's been outstripping employee job growth shows that the UK labour market is far weaker than headlines suggest’.