Under the headline: ‘More than 270,000 Scots in ‘insecure’ work despite fall in zero hours contracts’, the Herald, yesterday, announced:
‘An analysis by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), commissioned by Scottish Labour, found that an estimated 274,000 people in Scotland have unreliable incomes, including 71,000 on zero hours contracts with no guarantee of work. Another 160,000 are in low paid self-employment and 43,000 are in insecure temporary jobs.’
To be fair, six paragraphs in, they did acknowledge:
‘However, figures also show that the number of people employed in zero-hours contracts in Scotland has fallen by 7000 in the past year, and the percentage of workers on these arrangements is lower in Scotland that the UK as a whole and England or Wales.’
So, what are the figures for England and Wales? How much lower are the Scottish figures? Are the numbers falling there too? The Herald article doesn’t say. I searched and searched. The SPICEe and Office for National Statistics sites had nothing. Only the Herald, of several Scottish media reports, even mentioned that levels were lower in Scotland. When I searched the UK media for ‘insecure employment’, I found no reports. It’s clearly only a story in Scotland because of the Labour Branch investigation. However, I did find this from 2016:
‘4.5 million people in insecure work, reveals Citizens Advice
Four and a half million people in England and Wales are in insecure work, reveals new analysis by Citizens Advice.’
Now, England and Wales have a joint population of 56 million. Scotland has a population of 5.3 million, or 9.4%. If insecure employment is reasonably evenly spread across the three countries than Scotland should have around 423 000 people in insecure employment, yet Scottish Labour are screaming that it is 274 000 or 149 000 less than you’d expect. That would mean insecure employment is 54% more common in England and Wales.
Maybe the Citizens Advice figures are high but unless I can see the SPICEe data what can I do? It is strange that we don’t read any figure for how much lower it is, anywhere, and SPICEe have not published it. Does the Labour Branch have ownership of the findings?
If insecure employment is considerably less common in Scotland, then that would fit with other trends here such as: