Comment on an article by Martin Wolf in the FT 26/02/19
A serious look at the “facts” of employment statistics from the House of Commons briefing paper 15/02/19 shows that 4.84m are “self-employed”, 1.55m part-time and 0.84m on zero hours contracts. These figures highlight the issues of low earnings, precarity and underemployment. Most importantly “Real Average Pay” is still lower than 2008! So that answers the question about why we are running a deficit despite full employment – millions of workers are not paying enough tax or none at all and many are actually reliant upon benefits. There is also a link between employment ant Universal Credit which should be obvious – people required to seek work to obtain allowances even if it might make little economic sense for them. What is particularly interesting in the Brexit context is to map those claiming Job Seekers Allowance or Required to Work under Universal Credit onto Leave voting regions to see that there is some correlation. In other words, when these people voted to leave, were they really voting to leave or merely expressing discontent with their lot? To come back to Martin Wolf’s article, now that these people know that leaving the EU will not improve their lot, and, in many cases would damage it, how would they vote in a new referendum?