The growth of insecure employment – working without guaranteed hours or baseline employment rights – is costing the Exchequer an estimated £4 billion a year, according to a new Trades Union Congress report published yesterday.
When the government speaks of 'recovery' (which may well turn out to be a bubble largely supported by consumer spending, inflated house prices and private credit), it is worth asking, 'what is being recovered by whom?'
Last year, I visited the Judean desert and met with people who used a water pipe funded by UK aid money. Before the pipe was fitted, the villagers often had to go ten days without a bath. Now they can bathe every three days. They are also better able to water their vegetables and feed their livestock. The aid money has thus made them more independent, not less.
There has been a shocked response to news that the royal family is seeking to negotiate an increase in the Civil List - the money they are granted each year from public funds - despite the public spending cuts that are likely due to the recession.