With the business model for self-employed agents hotly debated within the industry, new data has suggested that most freelance professionals are worried about financing their futures.
Research from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, along with specialist mortgage provider CMME, reveals that 71 per cent of the self-employed are worried about saving for later life following Covid-19.
Women were most likely to be affected. Almost four out of five self-employed women said they are concerned about saving for later life compared to 69 per cent of men. Moreover, women are more likely to not be saving compared to men - 20 per cent not saving, compared to 12 per cent of men.
The research also found that the self employed are sceptical about how they will be handled by mortgage lenders.
While almost one in five believe that they will be treated fairly by lenders, 50 per cent believe that they won’t be.
Moreover, almost two in five freelancers who obtained a mortgage in 2021 found the process of getting one either somewhat or very difficult. For context, this represents a 57 per cent increase since 2020.
While government schemes like the Self-Employment Income Scheme provided some with a lifeline during lockdown, there are signs that accessing the support could have a serious negative long-term impact on the financial wellbeing of the self-employed sector.
According to the research, 40 per cent of people who accessed the Self-Employment Income Scheme during COVID-19 fear that they could be penalized in a mortgage application.
Andy Chamberlain, director of policy at IPSE, says: “While the focus in recent months has been on economic challenges like supply chains and rising inflation, more attention needs to be given to self-employed workers, who have taken the brunt of the pandemic.
“The government needs to work alongside the financial sector to alleviate the barriers preventing more freelancers from accessing financial products.
“Around one in seven working people in the UK are self-employed. Not only do we have a responsibility to ensure they have the same ability to save and buy a home as everyone else, lenders should recognise the self-employed make up a huge and potentially lucrative market.”