Recession 'boosts self-employment'

Image caption Taxi drivers, builders and farmers are commonly self-employed

The number of self-employed people in the UK has increased by nearly 10% since the start of the economic crisis, a report has found.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 367,000 more people were self-employed in 2012 compared with 2008 when the crisis began.

Over the same time period, the number employed by others fell, the data shows.

Self-employed people were also found to work longer hours than employees.

The most common self-employed occupations are taxi drivers, farmers and construction workers.

Union representatives said the figures suggested the UK labour market was "far weaker" than thought.

"The recent rise in job levels is being driven by self-employed, part-time and temporary jobs, rather than the full-time, permanent work that many people want and need," said Frances O'Grady, secretary general of the TUC.

"There may be perfectly good reasons for being self-employed, but it would be naive to think that all these workers are really budding entrepreneurs."

Self-employment represents 14% of the 29.4 million in employment in the UK.