The number of self-employed people in Leicestershire has risen by 12 per cent since the financial crisis and now stands at 59,400 - according to new figures published by the Office of National Statistics.
The rise comes as experts at Business Debtline called for more support in tackling the ‘advice gap’ for those starting out in self-employment.
The total of self-employed people in Leicestershire is up from 53,100 before the recession in 2007/2008.
The figures have prompted Business Debtline, the free debt advice service run by the Money Advice Trust charity, to warn of a worrying ‘advice gap’ for people starting up their own business. It says many self-employed people get into difficulty because they started trading without the help needed to understand how to run a business and keep finances on track.
A total of 409 sole traders, partners and other small business owners in Leicestershire contacted Business Debtline for help with business debts by phone last year - and the charity is concerned many more self-employed people in the county who are struggling aren’t getting the free debt advice they need.
Claire King, the Money Advice Trust’s insight manager, said: “We’d like more to be done to widen access to the business advice and information at the outset of people’s journey into self-employment. This really can make the difference between triumph and disaster.
“Fortunately, where the self-employed do find themselves in financial difficulty, free, independent advice is available to help them resolve the situation. I’d urge anyone in Leicestershire who is struggling to cope to seek free advice from Business Debtline as early as possible.”
For more information visit www.businessdebtline.org