“National Freelancers Day 2013 marked a milestone in the evolution of the contracting and freelancing sector,” believes ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin. “This has been an important year in the slow move towards gaining the recognition the sector requires to make it an even more powerful force to help grow and improve the UK economy.”
Contractors and freelancers celebrated PCG’s National Freelancers Day at events up and down the UK last Thursday 21 November 2013. It culminated in a live event featuring a keynote speech from businesswoman and Small Business Ambassador for the Conservative Party, Karren Brady, followed by a heated panel debate.
“I think this year’s National Freelancers Day organised by PCG was the best one so far,” says Chaplin. “The panel debate highlighted how far the contracting agenda has progressed since the first NFD in 2009.
“It also highlighted how much more work there is to do in educating not just policymakers about the benefits independent professionals bring to UK Plc, but also educating students about the possibilities contracting and freelancing offer as a career choice.”
The contracting agenda has also caught the attention of the national media, with The Telegraph running a feature on freelancing on the day.
And during an interview on LBC with Nick Ferrari, PCG director of policy and public affairs Simon McVicker was given the opportunity to put Nick Clegg on the spot. He asked why successive governments never keep their promises to cut red tape for freelancers, which the deputy prime minister struggled to answer.
According to Chaplin, it was during the panel that the real issues emerged: “There was general consensus that the government does not really understand contracting and freelancers, much as its predecessor did not either. And the sector must continue to up its game to ensure contractors and freelancers are properly represented.”
The expert panel included LBC’s Nick Ferrari, John Glen MP, Isabel Oakeshott from the Sunday Times and the BBC’s Liz Barclay. With host and freelance broadcaster Sue Lawley taking questions from the audience, the discussion ranged from how there needs to be an agreed blanket term for contractors and freelancers through to which of the political parties are best placed to represent and support freelancers.
“It was interesting that when Nick Ferrari asked us whether we felt the government has improved the situation for contractors and freelancers, no one raised their hand,” notes Chaplin.
Alongside the main event in London, co-working spaces and freelancer groups up and down the country staged their own events, with hundreds attending parties in Brighton, Bristol and Manchester among many others.