With the 2017 Budget edging closer – 8 March just in case your diary hadn’t been updated as of yet – one industry body has called on Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to back those who work for themselves within the UK labour market.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has, in its submission to the Chancellor ahead of the budget, called for a ‘pro-business budget that boosts jobs and long term-growth’.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: “Spring Budget 2017 is a critical moment for the Government to show it is unashamedly pro-business, and that the Chancellor recognises that small businesses are the engines of job creation.”

Since 2000, the number of people who work for themselves in the UK, including contractors operating personal service companies, has risen by 40% to 4.8 million people.

“FSB was established to champion the interests of the self-employed,” said Cherry. “At Spring Budget 2017, our entrepreneurial culture is on the line. The Government’s announcements on self-employment will be the litmus test for how pro-business it is going to be for the rest of this Parliament. There are a number of ways Spring Budget 2017 and the Taylor Review could help.”

The FSB has also addressed a number of pertinent topics for contractors, including a call for a standardised definition of self-employment in the modern labour zeitgeist. The organisation has also called for more details to be released on the government’s Making Tax Digital initiative – and to generally be more organised about it.

Regarding this last point, Cherry said: “We have been deeply engaged with Ministers to try to change these reforms and make them work. Originally planned for 2018, the delay in decision-making means that small business owners have no idea how they will meet their tax obligations next year. Spring Budget 2017 is the moment for the Chancellor to announce that the scheme will be implemented in 2020, after thorough piloting, user-testing, communication and help for those who will fall foul of any new obligations.”