Number of zero-hours contracts hits 1.8m

The figures are a boost for Chancellor Philip Hammond who eased austerity to help build a Brexit war chest but insisted the deficit should still continue to fall overall

The number of contracts not guaranteeing regular hours represents 6% of all contracts, unchanged from the previous figure.

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the period October to December 2017 reported that there were 1.8m contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours in the year to November 2017.

Zero-hours contracts (ZHCs) do not guarantee workers shifts in any given day or week, allowing the employer flexibility to bring in staff when there is sufficient work to be done.

"How can you plan your life, pay the bills or feed your family when you are trapped on a zero hours contract?"

The ONS also said that the way in which the data was gathered had changed from a... They want the same rights, security and guaranteed hours as other employees.

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Stephen Clarke, of the Resolution Foundation think tank, said: "The use of zero hours contracts increased rapidly in the wake of the financial crisis, but our tightening labour market has curbed their growth".

"Nonetheless, around 900,000 workers are on a zero hours contract, including one in twelve young people".

"Zero hours contracts harm workers and weaken our whole economy by taking away the incentive to invest in skills or development".

"We need a Government that is committed to making work more secure and dignified by tackling zero hours contracts once and for all".

"For some workers it won't be their only job, but a way to top up with additional income and/or get experience in a new or different field".

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