The number of self-employed people in South Yorkshire has risen by seven percent since the financial crisis and now stands at 66, 800, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The rise comes as experts at debt advice charity Business Debtline called for more support in tackling the ‘advice gap’ for those starting out in self-employment.
ONS statistics reveal 10.8 per cent of South Yorkshire’s working population - around 68, 800 - were self-employed. The total is up from 62,500 before the recession in 2007/2008. Furthermore, despite self-employment falling from its peak slightly across the UK in the last year, South Yorkshire bucked the trend with the number of self-employed people in the county growing by 1400 in the same period.
The figures were highlighted by Business Debtline, part of the Money Advice Trust (MAT), to warn of a worrying ‘advice gap’ for people starting up their own business.
The charity said many self-employed people get into difficulty because they started trading without the help needed to understand how to run a business and keep finances on track. It added 476 sole traders, partners and other small business owners in South Yorkshire contacted them for help with business debts by phone last year.
Claire King, insight manager for MAT, said self-employed people were the “unsung heroes” of economic recovery but added: “Some are paying a high personal price for the risk they have taken to support the economy. We must do more as a society to give them the best chance of succeeding.”