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Productivity and micro business

The Productivity Insights Network, funded by the Economic and Social research Council, have recently published a follow-up evaluation of a series of programmes designed to boost productivity (see _January19.pdf ). The initiatives under the microscope were all originally part of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills Future Programme. Looking at the report from […]

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Can policy be inspired by practice?

At the beginning of this week (19 November 2018) I had the great good fortune to be invited to a workshop on ‘Driving improvements in business performance’ for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) personnel organised by the Work Foundation ( My challenge was to decide what to say in five minutes on […]

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Business productivity review

As part of their concern with the UK’s productivity performance, the Government has launched a consultation. You can have your say at . We’ve already posted some thoughts under the business support and advice services heading. Do you agree with our points about sole traders and micro businesses?

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Business startup comes to Chesterfield

Here’s a date for your diary: Saturday 24 February. The micro biz champion Tony Robinson OBE will be in Chesterfield to tell us what it’s really like to work for yourself. Marketers, bookkeepers, social media experts and lost of others will be on hand (along with folks who’ve recently started their own business) to offer […]

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Archive for April, 2016

Self-employment into the future

Friday, April 29th, 2016

The last post looked at the history of UK self-employment, thanks to the Bank of England. A recent  UKCES report looks to the future of the UK labour market. It predicts that self-employment will continue to rise by 22k to 2019 but will then drop back by three times that to amount to 2024. For more click on the link to the UKCES report.

Bank of England stats on self-employment

Friday, April 29th, 2016

I managed to miss this last year but the Bank of England published a really interesting
spreadsheet of economic data going back over a century and a half. You can find this
wonderful resource at

I’ve used their labour market data to create this chart on annual levels of self-
employment. It looks like this had two growth spurts in the not too distant past:
1977-1990 and 2001-2014. The result is that the number of folks self-employed
has more than doubled during my (admittedly lengthy!) working life.

BoE chart cropped