The latest ONS employment figures showed that the rise in the number of self-employed people in the last year was greater than the rise in the number of employed people (an annual rise of 195,000 to September, compared with a rise of 110,000 employed people).

The proportion of all workers who are self-employed is now 15.1 per cent.

Commenting on the figures, Becky O’Connor, Personal finance specialist at Royal London, said “The growth in self-employment looks like a win for freedom and flexibility.”

“In reality, it’s almost 5 million people who may be earning less, not paying enough into their pension and experiencing cash flow issues that put them at risk of debt.”

“They also miss out on employee benefits such as holiday and sick pay, life insurance and income protection.”

“Many people may feel they have no choice but to become self-employed if they cannot find work that is suited to them. For some, it could be a choice between being self-employed and being unemployed.”

“Often, this is mothers going self-employed to work around children.”

“The financial vulnerability of this growing group of workers is an area of concern.”