Security traps among Britain’s essential workers
On 15 July this year, the Prime Minister gave a speech that spelt out his government’s levelling up vision for a country that soon hopes to escape the clutches of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said:
“It is the mission of this government to ensure that in so far as Covid has entrenched problems and deepened inequalities, we need now to work double hard to overturn those inequalities so that, as far as possible, everyone, everywhere, feels the benefits of that recovery and that we build back better across the whole of the UK.”
This report offers three arguments and one agenda that can help the Prime Minister achieve this ambition.
First, we argue that the need to tackle economic insecurity should be at the heart of his wider mission.
Second, we argue that tackling economic insecurity in key workers specifically should be an urgent public policy priority due to the centrality of key work to a functioning society and the alleviation of wider economic insecurity within it.
Third, we argue that through the alleviation of economic insecurity, all sections of society are able to benefit: workers and citizens through better lives and livelihoods, employers through increased productivity, and government from economic growth and a more resilient economy.
Finally, we offer a comprehensive six-point plan which would enable the government to achieve this latter task and make sure the workers who have saved both lives and livelihoods during the pandemic are properly supported to enjoy secure, healthy, fulfilling lives at work and at home.
During the pandemic, many key workers have experienced impacts on their economic security, mental and physical health, working and home lives. These are just some of their stories.
Tackling economic security is the right political agenda. It’s good for key workers, it’s good for employers, and it’s good for the economy.