Future of Work

More than three quarters of UK workers are worried their pay could fall in future due to rising prices, a report by a think tank has warned.

It found four of five of those currently in work fear the impact of inflation – currently at its highest level in nearly six years. The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) said workers across all income bands were concerned about falling real pay.

It said that many working people were unable to save regularly.

The study of more than 2,000 adults, carried out by Populus for the RSA, argues policies like universal basic income, and increased funding of preventative healthcare, would help to keep people in work and provide a financial cushion to support economic growth.

“The state can create the conditions for economic security but individuals and families must make the right choices too,” said Anthony Painter, director of the RSA’s Action and Research Centre.

The most recent data shows that average weekly wages are growing at just 2.2%, compared to inflation of 3.1% in November.

Ryan Shorthouse, director of right leaning think tank Bright Blue, questioned the report’s key claims.

“We have now the lowest levels of unemployment that we’ve had in decades and certainly we’ve seen increase in employment of people who have experienced entrenched worklessness for a long time, so there must be things in the current welfare system which are working.”

On the introduction of a universal basic income he added: “If you’re going to help people right at the bottom surely it would be better to give them more money rather than everybody [more more money].”

In 2016, RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor led a government-commissioned review into employment practices which argued that all work in the UK economy should be “fair and decent”.

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