A plumber has won a legal battle for working rights in a Supreme Court ruling expected to have huge ramifications for freelance workers.

Gary Smith had worked solely for Pimlico Plumbers for six years.

Despite being VAT-registered and paying self-employed tax, he was entitled to workers’ rights, the court ruled.

The ruling will be closely read by others with similar disputes, many of whom work for firms in the so-called “gig” economy such as Uber drivers.

Mr Smith, from Kent, began his battle with Pimlico Plumbers when he wanted to reduce his hours following a heart attack in 2010.

He wanted to cut the five-day week, which he had been signed up to work with the firm, to three.

However, the firm refused and took away his branded van, which he had hired. He claims he was dismissed.

Mr Smith argued that he was entitled to basic workers’ rights – which would include the national minimum wage and paid holiday and the ability to bring discrimination claims.

The Supreme Court agreed with earlier court rulings that he should be classified as a worker.