Self-employed workers are now said to be earning less than they did two decades ago, research from the Resolution Foundation – a think tank that works to improve pay for families – has revealed.

While the number of self-employed workers has risen by 45 per cent since 2001/02 to 4.8 million people, the weekly amount they earn has dropped to by £60. A typical self-employed worker was taking home £240 a week in 2014/15 so, after adjusting for inflation, that amount is less than what they were earning per week in 1994/95, which is when the data first began to be tracked.

Lower paid jobs and economic turbulence were to blame for the reduced pay rates, the research suggested.

Adam Corlett, economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: "While the self-employed workforce is getting bigger, typical earnings are actually lower than they were 20 years ago."

"While returns may have increased slightly in 2014-15, many workers are still feeling the painful effects of the financial crisis."

A Department for Business spokesperson said that the government was "committed to building an economy that works for everyone," adding that the while the National Living Wage has provided a million workers with a pay rise, the labour market must "support and protect all workers."

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