The number of people in self-employment has grown by 40 per cent since 2000, with the result that a record 1 in 7 of the workforce now answer to themselves. Should these growth rates continue, the RSA predicts that the UK’s self-employed community could soon outnumber the public sector workforce. The RSA embarked on a project to better understand how the livelihoods of the self-employed could be improved. In doing so, it examined issues such as earnings, pensions, mortgages and welfare. The main challenge facing the self-employed is that the burden of dealing with risks largely falls to them alone. For example, they have no recourse to Statutory Sick Pay should the fall ill, nor to Statutory Maternity Pay if they become pregnant. New measures are therefore needed to improve the living standards of the most vulnerable self-employed, with changes to National Insurance, Universal Credit, pensions and maternity and paternity pay being key priorities.