Jessica Morden Jessica Morden - Labour MP for Newport East, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and PPS to Keir Starmer
Last week the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in Newport East fell to 1,752.
This is certainly welcome, but came in a week where we also learned that only one in five of those who have had their benefits taken away are known to have found work.
These figures tie in with what food banks like the Trussell Trust are saying and the church funded report titled Feeding Britain, which reported that many of the people they are seeing is a result of benefit changes.
For many of the people I speak to who are getting back into work, they are faced with insecure, low paid and temporary jobs.
In their research, they took to the streets and invited people to talk about their jobs to draw attention to the millions of people in this country who are trapped in low paid and insecure work. Many people will tell you some dreadful stories but do not wish to name their employers.
Like the man who emailed me last week to highlight the practices used by agencies in the construction industry, or the constituent who explained how her employer uses practices so employees owe them time and have to work on days off.
For example, there has been a surge in zero-hour contracts where people earn nearly £300 less than permanent employees. Average weekly earnings for zero hours workers are just £188 compared to £479 for those who are permanently employed.
This growth of insecure employment is one of the main reasons we have seen living standards worsen significantly.
When the Government tell people they are better off they know they’re not. If Labour is elected this May we plan to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, increase the minimum wage to over £8 an hour by 2020, promote the living wage and more.