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Tracey Sutton
4th June, 2014

Freelancers Suggest Areas For Improvement To Local Authorities

People in office

According to UK freelancers, their business and working conditions would benefit most from improved communications infrastructure, greater access to public sector contracts and investment in community workspaces. These are the things they want local councillors to consider when devising their policies, a new study by the Professional Contractors Group (PCG) reveals. The association established so after a poll conducted before the elections in May.

Promotion of the use of freelancers within local councils was considered important by 9% of the survey participants

Better broadband infrastructure was on the wish lists of 30% of respondents. For 26% of the sample, they are keen to see greater use of freelancers in the provision of public services. Renovation of old council buildings to transform them into community working areas was listed as important by 24%, while 11% voiced a wish for more subsidies to go into business education for local self-employed people. Promotion of the use of freelancers within local councils was considered important by 9% of the survey participants.

The needs of people who live and work in a given constituency are likely to be prioritised by local councillors, according to Buckinghamshire PCG member James Collings. This means that regional commuting arrangements will get more attention than transportation links to other areas. If the trend towards remote working continues to accelerate, regional improvements like broadband and work hubs in council buildings are likely to grow in importance for local councillors, Collings said. Another PCG member, Glasgow-based Rajiv Dhir, said that additional efforts would be needed in order to give freelancers greater access to public sector contracts. These efforts will have to be made on a national level, the idea being to split contracts into smaller portions so that freelancers stand a better chance of winning business, Dhir added.

Local businesses would reap substantial benefits if these recommendations are followed, according to George Anastasi, policy development coordinator at PCG. In order for that to happen, local authorities must recognise and address the needs of contractors, implementing measures that enable them to grow and prosper, Anastasi added.

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