Comment: Doing right by the self-employed

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Lenders are working hard to adapt their criteria and better serve the growing community of self-employed workers

The landmark employment tribunal involving Uber and its drivers has cast an even brighter spotlight on the gig economy and self-employed sector in recent weeks.

The rise of the gig economy business model – where companies use apps and the internet to match customers with workers – has resulted in growing numbers of the UK workforce looking beyond traditional ways of earning a living. In fact, a recent study by Intuit found only 13 per cent of Brits thought they would be working in a traditional employment situation in 2025.

Thanks to a skills/training gap across many sectors, it is little wonder more people are looking to optimise and monetise opportunities through being self-employed or acting as a contractor.

It goes without saying that all workers – whether contracted, contractor or self-employed – should receive the rights to which they are entitled. They should also retain the right to expect reasonable borrowing requirements to be met.

However, research from Accord suggests this remains a challenge. Twenty-two per cent of contractors and self-employed workers believe the way they earn their income has made it more difficult for them to get a mortgage compared to when they were in full-time employment.

Nearly a third (29 per cent) believe providers perceive them as a bigger lending risk, while 16 per cent have found the process of applying for a mortgage difficult.

Lenders acknowledge this remains an issue and are working hard to adapt criteria and better serve this growing community. And where demand is evident, opportunity is never far behind for proactive mortgage intermediaries.

Craig Calder is director of mortgages at Barclays