Co-operatives UK new report, ‘Not Alone’

Co-operatives UK has published a report, Not Alone: Trade union and co-operative solutions for self-employed workers. The ‘precariat index’ developed in the report combines indicators that measure levels of self-employment and of privately rented housing. The report says:

  • Five in 10 new jobs are created by those going into business for themselves.
  • The number of the self-employed has risen by 732,000 since 2008. …
  • In the first quarter of 2014 the number of the self-employed rose by 180,000. …
  • Self-employment among those aged 65 and over has doubled from 241,000 in 2009 to 428,000 in 2014. …

Self-employment, as a proportion of employment in the UK, increased from 11.6 per cent in 1985 to 15 per cent in 2015. The number of households in private rented accommodation grew from nine per cent to 22 per cent during the same period. While there have been one-off dips in the number of people living in private rental accommodation (in the late 1980s) and in self-employment (around the year 2000), together the index suggests that precariousness in work and housing has increased consistently and nearly doubled over the last 30 years. … Many EU countries are looking at a Universal Basic Income as an alternative to means-tested models like Universal Credit. Trials in some EU countries are planned including Finland. Professor Guy Standing is an advocate of Universal Basic Income as a core solution to the problems faced by the precariat. The RSA has been working with the Citizen’s Income Trust to examine what this would look like in the UK in their Power to Create report. In relation to the Co-operatives UK analysis of the precariat index, this is relevant and worthy of further exploration, as they propose a Basic Income to replace Universal Credit and an additional Basic Rental Income to replace housing benefit. Further work on the model by Citizens Income Trust will be forthcoming in 2016. (pp. 11, 20-22)


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