Whilst it is promising that UK unemployment has fallen, we know it’s not all good news, as research by Citizens Advice this week highlights the extent of insecure employment and the financial challenges it presents.
4.5 million people in England and Wales are now in insecure work including temporary contracts, variable shifts and zero-hour contracts. A lack of regular hours and guaranteed pay can cause huge uncertainty and stress, as workers may not know from week to week if they will be able to cover their bills or rent, or put food on the table for their families.
As a charity helping people in financial hardship, this echoes what we regularly hear. 39% of low income workers told us their outgoings outweigh their earnings - and 57% would like to work more hours but cannot get the work. In addition, 87% of all low income households have seen no improvement to their financial situation within the last year.
Accessing welfare support can also be a challenge for those with fluctuating hours and pay. Therefore we urge anyone who is struggling financially to use our free Benefits Calculator at www.turn2us.org.uk to check what help could be available. It also includes a ‘better-off’ function to show how a change in hours or wages could affect benefits entitlements and overall household income.
Whilst more needs to be done to tackle insecure employment in the long-term, we hope that we can help more people to find the support they need now which could make all the difference in easing some of the pressures they face.
Director of Operations
200 Shepherds Bush Road
Update 17 June: This letter has now been published on The Guardian website.