USE OF ZERO HOURS CONTRACTS ON THE RISE IN LONDON – new statistics show 95,000 workers with no guaranteed hours
New statistics released this week have shown an increase in the number of Londoners on controversial zero-hour contracts.
The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows the number of Londoners on zero-hour contracts has risen by 18,000 since the same October to December period in 2014, meaning there are now 95,000 workers in the capital without guaranteed hours.
The data also shows that 2.2 per cent of London’s workforce are now employed on zero hour contracts, up 0.4 per cent from 1.8 per cent on the same period the year previous.
A London Assembly Labour party press release says: “Whilst the data doesn’t show the number of zero hour contracts which include exclusivity clauses preventing workers from also taking jobs elsewhere, ONS analysis showed that over a quarter, 27 pc, or those on zero hour contracts who were surveyed said they wanted more hours in their current job or an additional job elsewhere.
Labour’s London Assembly economy spokeswoman Dr Fiona Twycross said:“The rise in the number of zero hour contracts is deeply worrying. “Whilst they work for some people, many workers are actively seeking more hours or extra job to make ends meet.
“The uncertainty of zero-hour contracts isn’t just bad for employees, it undermines the London economy by reducing training and upskilling and entrenches low pay.
“Workers need protections put in place to guarantee at least a basic income from their job; not wildly fluctuating hours which leave them in limbo from week to week.” (Source: GLA Labour party press release).
SOUTHWARK BRING IN GREATER PROTECTION FOR FOUR OF ITS HIGH STREETS
Planning chiefs at Southwark Council have put the final seal of approval on a move to protect the vitality and vibrancy of four major shopping areas in the borough by using an Article 4 Direction.
Shops along Lordship Lane, Peckham Rye Lane, Walworth Road and Camberwell town centre have been highlighted as areas where the automatic permitted development rights (which were brought in by government) have been removed by an Article 4 direction. This means any proposed changes of use still have to go through the council’s planning procedures, and – if there are local objections – considered before a planning committee in public.
This means, for example, retail space such as a former bakery or butchers (classed as A1 use in planning terms) in the Article 4 areas, can’t automatically be turned into an A2 use like an estate agents or bank.
Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “Our local high streets are vital parts of our communities and we want to help them thrive and keep the hustle and bustle that attracts shoppers to the area.”
When our high streets are dominated by other uses than shops then they can lose that vitality and sense of activity. By applying the Article 4 Direction on these specific areas we can gain back some of the control over the future of shops on these streets that the government has tried to remove. This will complement our work to make our high streets healthier to help tackle the growing obesity crisis in Southwark, and also crack down on payday lenders and bookies who suck money out of our borough and put nothing back into the local community.”
Whilst the Article 4 Direction doesn’t absolutely mean a premises won’t change use, it means planners will get to consider any applications and strengthens the Council to use its policies so an application can be refused. An application can be approved if the applicant can prove the premises have been rigorously marketed for at least 12 months.
Protection of active retail space has also been highlighted in the new Southwark Plan, which is currently out for consultation. (Source: Southwark council press release)