GIG Economy – Bulletin comments

GIG Economy – Bulletin comments 
Andy Milne


I’m not sure if you carry comments in reply but I wanted to offer a couple on the item which I have copied below. 


I want to do so because the issues of employment, pay and conditions, tax and work life balance, which it touches on, are all key points of interest for SURF and many of our member organisations, as well as for the people and communities that those members are trying to help in their shared regeneration efforts.


This is the Senscot Bulletin item that I am referring to:


Tuesday saw the publication of Matthew Taylor’s review of what we call the Gig economy; lots of suggestions (which would require legislation) to improve the pay and conditions of the casual workforce. But the core issue is not as simple as Gig workers seeking more secure employment/benefits – employers resisting. There is clear evidence of a growing number of people choosing more flexible working arrangements – to fit around other life priorities: caring for children or infirm parents; creating art – or an exploratory business idea. The future challenge is how the state collects a contribution from casual workers for health and pension provision.


I agree that there is some evidence of ‘people choosing more flexible working arrangements’ but there is a lot more evidence of employers, both very large ones like Sports Direct, Amazon, Uber etc and smaller enterprises, deliberately and excessively exploiting the gross power imbalance that has been allowed to develop in recent decades between increasingly insecure individual workers and their employers. That growing inequality and the interlinked societal and economic problems it creates, was the main focus of Taylor’s ultimately disappointing review. 


In terms of collecting contributions from casual workers; the increasingly difficult challenge for the state in collecting vital tax revenue from big businesses, which spend millions on accountancy fees just to minimise their tax liability, vis Vodaphone, Starbucks, Google, Apple etc etc is a far bigger problem for us all. Its also a far more important issue for communities whose basic quality of life, health and opportunities depend on decent public services and infrastructure.


Best wishes