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Highest number of self-employed in decades

There are now 4.6 million self-employed people in Britain - more than at any time in the past 40 years - new figures show.

Taxi driving is one of the most popular professions among self-employed people. Credit: Katie Collins/PA Archive

The number has increased by over 730,000 in the past six years, though the study from the Office for National Statistics shows the average income from self-employment has slumped by 22% over the same period.

The most common jobs are in construction and taxi driving, although there has been an increase in the number of management consultants.

The TUC said income has "collapsed", with self-employed workers earning less than half that of other employees.

Many people want to work for themselves, but the growth in self-employment is reducing people's pay, job security and retirement income, and is likely to be reducing the Government's tax take too.

– General secretary Frances O'Grady