Falling contractor incomes and Brexit have buffeted contractors’ confidence in the UK’s economy.

That is according to research by IPSE, the freelancer group, and PPH, the freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour.

In the last quarter, the confidence of contractors in the UK’s economy had improved after being at a record low in the second quarter of 2017. However, Brexit and a 17-per cent decline in earnings has reversed this trend. This downward move is expected to be further exacerbated by an increase in business costs this year.

The decrease in income is compounded by a fall in the amount of time contractors spent working in each quarter. Contractor confidence in the economy is now at its second-lowest level on record. Seventy per cent of those who were surveyed said that they were feeling less optimistic and believed that the UK’s economy will not improve over the next 12 months.

Professor Andrew Burke, who is the Dean of Trinity Business School, in Dublin, said: “The freelancers who completed this survey are professional, highly skilled … Their consistent lack of confidence is therefore deeply concerning.”

Professor Burke went on to say that the government’s policies related to Brexit, regulation of freelance work, and taxes were responsible for the adverse effect on the freelance sector. However, this can also be a reassuring perception as contractors and independent workers feel that changing government’s policies related to these areas could have a positive impact on the freelance businesses in the country, and the changes would help their performance.