With the general election now just over two weeks away, new research has shed light on where contractors and the self-employed may have the biggest influence.
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has compiled a list of twenty constituencies in the UK where the self-employed comprise the highest population of the UK.
Interestingly, four of the five constituencies with the highest percentage of contractors are currently occupied by Conservative candidates. These include St Ives – where a massive 35.5% of the population are self-employed – Kensington, South Thanet, and Chesham and Amersham.
IPSE has also identified constituencies with the smallest majority and where the self-employed comprise more than 15% of the population. These constituencies have a high chance of a swing, and a high proportion of contractors and self-employed, meaning the self-employed will have a huge say in who is elected there.
Examples include Gower, where the Conservative party’s Byron Davies holds a majority of just 27, and the self-employed comprise 19.8% of constituents. In Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell of the Conservatives has a majority of just 165, and 18.2% of the population are self-employed.
“The self-employed are among the most engaged and policy-sensitive of all demographics. After all, being deeply financially and personally invested in their businesses, the self-employed feel the effects of policies – particularly economic ones – more sharply than others,” said Lorence Nye, Economic Policy Adviser. “There is potential evidence of this from the last General Election.”
One of the larger populations of self-employed and contractors reside in Ealing Central and Acton. Nye surmises that appealing to contractors and the self-employed was most likely part of Labour candidate Rupa Huq turning over a lead of 3,716 in Ealing Central and Acton at the last elections.
“She now holds a majority of just 274, and with the self-employed making up more than a quarter of her constituency’s workforce, she may find it very useful to target those 13,000+ voters,” he said. “In fact, it may be the best chance to secure her seat in what promises to be a very close race.”