Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/778/17357
Them & Us
A new report for the Resolution Foundation has found that a growing number of people getting their first job, and particularly women, quickly get stuck in part-time, low-paying roles.
In 2013 more than a third of jobs for new employees were part time. This is partly to blame for the fact that more than two thirds of hotel and restaurant workers earn less than the living wage.
Another method used to keep pay down is to keep workers self-employed - average income for the self-employed fell from £16,100 a year in 2002 to £11,900 in 2011.
According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation someone working full time on minimum wage would earn just over £12,000 a year whereas a single person needs to be earning at least £16,850 to reach an acceptable standard of living.
The TUC is taking a complaint to the European Commission that the government has failed to implement European legislation designed to ensure agency workers receive equal pay with permanent staff doing the same job.
The TUC claims that one in six agency workers are on contracts that avoid this legislation by being employed directly by the agency.
The government's reaction has so far been to essentially say 'yes of course we've provided a way for companies to get around it'.
- A recent report by the Child Poverty Action Group and Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that the cost of raising children for those who pay for childcare has risen by 4% in the last year.
- House prices rose by 0.4% in August alone, and 0.9% in London.
- The amount that the average household has to spend on energy may double to more than £3,000 a year by 2020.
Payday lenders are pumping millions of pounds of extra money into advertising. The top five companies increased their advertising spending by 26% to £36.3 million in the year to June 2013.
The biggest of these, Wonga, is expected to announce soon that its annual profits are over £100 million for the first time.
The record profits don't mainly reflect effective advertising of course, but are a sign of the increasing struggle facing low-paid people at the end of every month as wages are held down and prices continue to soar.
The thousands of percent interest charged on these pay day loans only serve to trap people further into a cycle of debt and poverty.
Upturn for who?
Four out of five adults in the Land of Dreams, the US, spend at least part of their lives in joblessness, near-poverty or reliant on welfare.
And the problem is getting worse rather than better. People aged 35-45 had a 17% risk of encountering poverty from 1969 to 1989; that risk increased to 23% in the period from 1989 to 2009.
This while Obama talks of "rebuilding ladders of opportunity" and heralds an economic upturn.
In The Socialist 4 September 2013:
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