Press release

Social security and the self-employed: time for a review

SSAC has asked the government to examine the balance in social security coverage between self-employed and employed workers.


In a report published today (25 September 2014), the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has called on government to examine the balance in social security coverage – both in terms of entitlement and contributions – between self-employed and employed workers. The report also looks at the incentives for so-called ‘false self-employment’ and considers how current Universal Credit regulations may affect the self-employed.

Launching the report entitled Social security provision and the self-employed, Paul Gray (the committee’s Chair) commented:

Our report highlights a number of differences in the treatment of self-employed and other workers within the current social security system. With the recent growth in self-employment, it is important for the government to review whether the right balance in the social security system is currently being achieved between those in self-employment and employment.

We do not underestimate the challenge policy-makers face in assessing the respective interests of the self-employed, the employed and their employers. However, within that analysis it will be important to recognise some of the drivers for ‘false self-employment’. The position may be further complicated following roll-out of Universal Credit for the self-employed, and we therefore call on the government to establish an expert working group to look carefully at concerns that are emerging.

More information

SSAC is an independent advisory body of the Department for Work and Pensions. The committee’s role is to:

  • give advice on social security issues
  • scrutinise and report on social security regulations (including tax credits)
  • consider and advise on any matters referred to it by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions or the Northern Ireland Department for Social Development

The committee’s Chair is Paul Gray. Its membership comprises: Les Allamby; John Andrews; Simon Bartley; Adele Baumgardt; John Ditch; Keith Faulkner; Colin Godbold; Chris Goulden; Matthew Oakley; Judith Paterson; Nicola Smith and Diana Whitworth. Its expert adviser on Scotland is Jim McCormick.

Contact SSAC

Social Security Advisory Committee

5th Floor Caxton House
Tothill Street


Published 25 September 2014