Though contractors’ confidence is improving, most self-employed professionals are anxious about the future in the wake of Brexit and IR35 tax reforms, according to new research commissioned by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

The Association’s monthly index, which charts how contractors feel about their current prospects in the marketplace, found record low levels of confidence in the second quarter of this year.

In the past three months, however, 31 per cent of contractors have expressed confidence in their business over the next year – an increase of 12 percentage points.

Despite this, freelancers are slightly less pessimistic about the wider economy: only 60 per cent say they feel less confident than before, down from 69 per cent last quarter.

Pay rates have also fallen among contractors, despite respondents to IPSE’s survey predicting on average an 11 per cent rise in their business costs.

Suneeta Johal, IPSE’s head of research, said Brexit and the negative consequences of Government policy ranked among the “primary concerns” of the survey’s respondents.

She added: “Our confidence index has traditionally found the third quarter to be challenging for freelancers, but if the Government alleviate their concerns about the roll-out of IR35 reforms in the private sector, it is possible that confidence can continue to increase as it has done this quarter.”

The survey was put to 331 IPSE members, who are primarily contractors and other self-employed workers.

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