Northern Rock Ten Years On: Financial Crisis Changed How Britain Works Forever

  • Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder at FreeAgent

  • 21.02.2018 11:45 am
  • Financial

The collapse of Northern Rock ten years ago, and the ensuing financial crisis, has profoundly changed how people in the UK work to this day.

With unemployment across the UK sharply rising in 2008, that year gave birth to the UK’s freelance economy. From 2008 to 2016 the number of freelancers in Britain has increased by 43% and it now accounts for 2 million workers in the country, who contribute £119 billion to the economy.

However, despite freelancers become an essential part of the economic makeup, accounting for 6% of our workforce, inequality does exist between employed and self-employed workers. They don’t have statutory benefits that workers expect, including sick pay, maternity pay or pension provision. The lack of these provisions has serious consequences too, for example, if you’re self-employed and too sick to work, you won’t make any money.

As we enter the second decade of the freelance economy in the UK, I welcome proposed changes by the government to protect freelancers with such statutory benefits as outlined by the Taylor Review. However, if we fail to help freelancers more it may make them question the benefit of starting their own business, which will be hugely detrimental to the British economy.



Timeline - 2008

  • 22 February, 2008: The government nationalises Northern Rock.
  • 14 March 2008: Bear Stearns is bought by JP Morgan for $240 million.
  • 7 September 2008: The US government bails out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • September 15, 2008: Wall Street bank Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and another US bank, Merrill Lynch, is taken over by the Bank of America.
  • September 17, 2008: Lloyds TSB announces a £12 billion deal to take over Britain's mortgage lender HBOS.
  • 29 September, 2008: The UK government takes control of Bradford & Bingley's £50 billion of mortgages and loans.
  • 30 September, 2008: The Irish government guarantees deposits in the country's main banks for two years.
  • October, 2008: Trading is suspended in Icelandic banks including Kaupthing, Landsbanki, Glitnir, Straumur-Burdaras, Exista and Spron.
  • October, 2008: The Bank of England cuts interest rate by 0.5% to 4.5%.
  • 20 November, 2008: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approves £1.4bn loan for Iceland.

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