The UK’s growing economy is directly affecting the UK’s contractor workforce, who today confirmed a growth in availability of work and contract rates, based on new research from Crunch Accounting.

The research, conducted by Crunch Accounting last month, questioned contractors across the country, including IT consultants, writers and designers.

In the past 12 months more than half (54%) of contractors experienced an increase in the availability of work, with more than a third (37.6%) increasing their day rate. Almost a third of those increased their day rate by up to 50%.

Nearly half (40%) of those surveyed also said their business had grown by 50%, with 7.5% reporting a doubling of workload.

These stats follow news that more people are turning to self-employment as a career choice, with 4.55 million people in the UK now working for themselves. This is a jump of 183,000 in the last quarter to March 2014, compared with a rise of 375,000 over the past 12 months.

Darren Fell, managing director of Crunch Accounting, providers of online accounting services for contractors, who conducted the survey, said: “Things are clearly picking up for UK businesses and we’re delighted that those positive benefits are reaching the army of self-employed and contract workers across the UK. But anyone running their own businesses needs to keep on their toes and can’t be complacent. They should continue to review their business model, look at the changing and developing needs of their clients, ensure they have strong financial planning and an effective business model, with a clear business goal in place.”