Work stats show how Worthing folk are doing it for themselves

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SELF employment levels in Worthing have rocketed to over double the national average but there is inadequate facilities to support them, a leading business figure believes.

The latest Government figures, between July 2012 and June 2013, show just under a fifth of residents being their own boss.

The UK average sits at 9.5 per cent, with the south east slightly higher at 10.9 per cent.

CEO of Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce Tina Tilley said more business incubator facilities were needed in order to support them.

She said: “I think it is a positive thing, but now we have to consider how we as a chamber, along with Worthing Borough Council, are going to support these businesses to survive and grow.

“We need to look at providing more space for start-ups.”

Mrs Tilley explained that while many would be content to work from home, it was often difficult to maintain this as businesses began to expand.

She said: “I believe a lot of people from Worthing are using the services of Basepoint, in Shoreham.

“I don’t want to see people from Worthing going to Adur, as businesses in Adur need space, too.”

Leader of Worthing Borough Council Paul Yallop said the council were considering space in the Guildbourne Centre, while space at the old Worthing College site, in Bolsover Road, was also under consideration.

He said: “We are in quite detailed negotiations regarding the Brighton and Hove city deal and we have two separate bids for the Guildbourne Centre.

“It is something I would like to see come forward.”

He added: “Worthing College was also a consideration, but you need to find someone to run the facilities.”

Basepoint, in Little High Street, Shoreham, has 49 low-rent office spaces, which are fully subscribed.

It also has a waiting list of 28 businesses.

Centre manager Stephanie George said the firm was ‘desperate’ to expand into Worthing.

She said: “We are having people call every day asking if we have space.

“We are desperately looking for space in Worthing. We are talking to the council and the Chamber of Commerce, and the Guildbourne Centre has been mentioned.”

The reasons for the spike in self employment are not known, but Mrs Tilley suggested it could be the result of job cuts.

She said: “It is possibly people who work up in London, who are finding their hours cut back, or have lost their jobs and are now freelancing.

“We have 135 sole traders as members out of 340, so it is a large proportion.”