The latest labour market data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the total number of self-employed people in the UK had risen by 21,000 compared to the previous month.
Although there are still 500,000 fewer freelancers than this time last year, this is the second consecutive month-on-month increase in the number of self-employed people since the pandemic began.
Industry experts welcomed the news, saying that the easing of the lockdown restrictions has helped the sector recover and there are signs that it is now stabilising.
Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at self-employment trade association, IPSE, said the data shows “clear and welcome signs the self-employed sector is finally moving in the right direction.”
However, he warned that the delaying of the final stage of the roadmap out of lockdown could serve another blow to independent workers.
Boris Johnson announced on Monday 14 June that stage four of the roadmap would be delayed by up to four weeks – until 19 July.
The move came after a rise in the number of new Coronavirus cases – particularly in young people who have not yet been vaccinated.
The Prime Minister said the delay would allow more people to be immunised and indicated that he is determined to reopen the rest of the economy by 19 July.
Chamberlain added that the “halt to the roadmap […] may be a blow to the progress already made in the freelance sector.
“We continue to urge the government to introduce a sectorial support and stimulus package to protect affected sectors such as events and the creative industry – and also give them the boost they need to get back on their feet once the economy fully reopens.”