Labour Market

Zero-hours contract figures are not a cause for concern


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The rise of zero-hours contracts is neither surprising nor important

Commenting on the six per cent rise in the use of zero-hours contracts in the UK, reported by the Office of National Statistics, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The rise of zero-hours contracts is neither surprising nor important. Far from being a result of unscrupulous employers trying to exploit their staff, today’s reported increase illustrates the flexible nature of the UK’s labour market.

“Not everyone is able to work at fixed and regular times and adaptable contracts such as these offer the opportunity of employment to students, single parents and many more. Without this flexibility, opportunities for these individuals would be dramatically reduced, as is the case in European countries where rigid employment structures have resulted in staggeringly high levels of unemployment.” 

Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview with an IEA spokesperson, please contact Camilla Goodwin, Communications Officer on 0207 799 8920 or 07821 971 443.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

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