Does Government Do Enough to Support the Self-Employed?

According to new research conducted by Panasonic Business Systems, Britain's growing self-employed workforce feel badly let down by the Government

London April 13, 2005 -- On the eve of Panasonic's Be Your Own Boss Week 2005 (BYOB 11th-18th April) and following recently announced plans from the Dti to save small firms 100 million a year by making it easier to set up a business, figures have revealed that an overwhelming 84 percent of self-employed people still believe the Government does not do enough to support them.*

Statistics from the NFEA (National Federation of Enterprise Agencies) found that 99% of UK companies are small businesses employing almost 50 per cent of the UK's private sector workforce and over 60 per cent of innovations come from small businesses. So why do new businesses and start-ups only have an even chance of surviving for three years? And with 3.7 million small businesses in the UK, how can we improve this ratio?

Over 60% of the 1,120 people who took part in the Panasonic survey have become self-employed in the last five years and when questioned, found that the biggest benefit of doing so was the flexibility it gave them (41%). 40% also said that by not working for a company, they felt better rewarded for their skills and hard work.

However, when it comes to drawbacks, almost a quarter of the self-employed find they end up working longer hours. The same amount also complains of being "always on duty" C even when on holiday. Another 23% cite financial pressure as a downside.

Even so, the majority felt that becoming self-employed had more positives than negatives and 80% felt their quality of life was better or much improved since working for themselves and so would encourage the Government to invest more money in this area.

Respondents to the survey also found that they had learnt new skills since becoming self-employed, including learning more about Information Technology. Over 80% highlighted the importance of having the appropriate technology in place before you start up in business on your own.

"It is in everyone's interests to promote entrepreneurialism. For every small business that starts up there's a real chance it could be the next big brand. Panasonic began life in 1918 producing and selling two-socket light bulbs from the founder's house, with just 3 employees," said Bob Tate, Head of Business Systems at Panasonic. "Now Panasonic has grown from a team of 3 to over 260,000 staff worldwide included more than 500 employees in the UK alone."

"With over three-quarters of people claiming they had to learn new skills to start up, with Information technology taking up most of their time, we are hoping to educate the public on the kind of technology and support there is available for start-ups."

Panasonic Business Systems provides complete solutions for small businesses and their office needs, from an award winning range of "Workio" multi-function products to smaller "mini office" products for the home office. Also on offer are their lightweight micro-portable projectors and ruggedised Toughbook notebook PCs for those that work on the move along with iris recognition and network cameras from the market leading Panasonic security range and telephone systems designed for small businesses growing needs.

Be Your Own Boss Week 2005 (11-17 April) sponsored by Panasonic Business Systems, is an awareness campaign looking at the benefits and issues involved in running a small business, celebrating the people that have made the decision to go it alone and be their own boss. It looks at how technology enables people to work from home and small offices and the difficulties encountered by start-ups when choosing the correct technology solutions. It also looks at how starting a business is becoming an increasingly popular way for workers looking to work flexibly and gain a beneficial work/life balance.

For more information, case studies, region specific statistics or photography please contact
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Or call Sophie Heximer or Gavin Spicer on 020 8322 1922

*Research conducted in March 2005 on behalf of Panasonic Business Systems by 72 Point

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