Taylor Review: All work in UK economy should be fair

All work in the UK’s economy should be “fair and decent”, a government review of employment practices has said.

The report’s author, Matthew Taylor, said “fairness demands” that people, particularly those on lower incomes, had routes to progress in work.
Among the issues covered by the report is employment in the gig economy.

The report recommends that firms which control and supervise their workers should pay a range of benefits, including National Insurance.

Mr Taylor also suggested that cash payments should be phased-out.
He said cash jobs such as window cleaning and decorating were worth up to £6bn a year and many were untaxed – something Mr Taylor says should be addressed.

Mr Taylor’s report recommends a new category of worker called a “dependent contractor”, who should be given extra protections by firms such as Uber and Deliveroo.
It also says low-paid workers should not be “stuck” at the minimum living wage or face insecurity.

Earlier, Mr Taylor told the BBC: “In my view there is too much work particularly at the bottom end of the labour market that is not of a high enough quality.

“There are too many people not having their rights fully respected.
“There are too many people at work who are treated like cogs in a machine rather than being human beings, and there are too many people who don’t see a route from their current job to progress and earn more and do better.”

Cashless economy

He said his aim was not to change the working landscape for those who wanted to work flexibly: “If people want to clock on and earn a few extra quid we don’t want to stop that,” he told the BBC.
“We don’t want to ban zero hours [contracts] – many people who work zero hours want to do so.”

But he said working platform providers such as Uber had to demonstrate that workers signing on for hours of work would “easily clear” the minimum wage.

Mr Taylor also said he did not want to ban cash payments outright, but hoped, over time, the increasing popularity of transaction platforms such as PayPal and Worldpay would see a shift from cash-in-hand work.

“In a few years time as we move to a more cashless economy, self employed people would be paid cashlessly – like your window cleaner. At the same time they can pay taxes and save for their pension,” he said.

“Most people who do pay for self-employed labour would like to know that that person is paying their taxes.”

‘Exploited’ workers

However, Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said the review did not go far enough for the 4.5 million people in insecure work.

She told the BBC’s Today programme: “If it looks like a job or it smells like a job then it is a job, and the worker should be employed, and I think in those those situations where a worker is carrying out work on behalf of an employer… they should not be exploited as a flexible workers.”

Trade unions also said Mr Taylor had not tackled many of the issues facing workers.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “From what we’ve seen, this review is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work.”

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, called it a “disappointing missed opportunity”.

Economy, General