Self-employed

House of Lords written question – answered on 25th June 2014.

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Photo of Lord Christopher Lord Christopher Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many self-employed workers the Office for National Statistics estimated there to be in each financial year since 2010–11.

Photo of Lord Wallace of Saltaire Lord Wallace of Saltaire Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for Office for National Statistics, to Lord Christopher, dated June 2014

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking Her Majesty’s Government how many self-employed workers the Office for National Statistics estimated there to be in each financial year since 2010–11. (HL489)

The table provides estimates from the Annual Population Survey (APS) for the number of people who reported to the survey that they were self-employed. Estimates are averages for the 12 month periods April 2010 to March 2011; April 2011 to March 2012 and April 2012 to March 2013. Estimates for the financial year 2013-14 will be available from the APS on 16th July 2014.

Number of self-employed people, by financial year
Twelve months ending March each year
United Kingdom
Number in self-employment (thousands ) As a percentage of all in employment (%)
2010-11 3,918 * 13.6
2011-12 4,101 * 14.1
2012-13 4,160 * 14.1

Source: Annual Population Survey (APS)

Guide to Quality:

The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV - for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of 5% we would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220.

KEY Coefficient of Variation (CV) (% ) Statistical Robustness
* 0 ≤ CV < 5 Estimates are considered precise.
** 5 ≤ CV < 10 Estimates are considered reasonably precise.
*** 10 ≤ CV < 20 Estimates are considered acceptable.
**** CV ≥ 20 Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes

More timely self-employment estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are published monthly in Table EMP01 as part of the Labour Market Statistics release, available here:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-311468#tab-Employment-tables

As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. These are indicated by the guide to quality in the table.

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