Government facing tough choices with many workers poorer than a year ago

Houses of parliament

Responding to the Labour market overview March 2023 released by the Office for National Statistics, Ben Harrison, Director of the Work Foundation, said:

“Today’s figures show the tough choices facing the Government at this week’s Budget to drive economic growth.

“Despite economic inactivity falling and employment growing, vacancies remain above pre-pandemic levels with employers struggling to fill 1.1 million posts. Although wage growth is strong, many workers are poorer than a year ago with real wages falling by 2.4% on the year and those in the public sector are hit hardest.

“The Government is right to focus on supporting those on Universal Credit with childcare costs to encourage people into work. Work Foundation research has shown working mothers with young children are 2.7 times more likely than fathers to experience severely insecure work – in large part due to the constraints they face when it comes to unaffordable or unavailable childcare provision.

“But there is no case to introduce yet further punitive sanctions into the welfare system which will be both costly and inefficient for workers and businesses alike, and is guaranteed to increase anxiety for some of the most vulnerable households in the country. Instead the Government should prioritise cancelling the Energy Price Guarantee to provide further support for low income households.”

Back to News