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Revisions to zero hours contracts data are welcome but under-reporting is still a problem

Angelo Evangelou

01 August 2013

Commenting on today’s revision to the statistics around zero hours contracts, Ian Brinkley, director at The Work Foundation, said:

“The ONS technical revisions of the zero hour contracts data are welcome but the revised figure of 250,000 is still very likely to be a significant under-estimate. Estimates based on other datasets and Freedom of Information requests suggest that in domestic care and the NHS alone there are approaching 400,000 zero hour contracts across the UK.

“We urgently need to bring the various data sources together to get a better idea of the true scale of the use of zero hours contracts and identify where the gaps in our knowledge remain.  Without a stronger evidence base about both the numbers of zero hours and how they are used in practice it will not be possible to develop good policy responses.

“The ONS has said it will revise the LFS questionnaire which may provide a ‘step change’ in the estimates. The new estimates will be available in early 2014. However, it remains to be seen whether this tackles the problem of under-reporting.”



Notes to editors


  1. Ian Brinkley is available for interviews, briefings and written comment.
  2. The Work Foundation aims to be the leading independent, international authority on work and its future, influencing policy and practice for the benefit of society. The Work Foundation is part of Lancaster University – an alliance that enables both organisations to further enhance their impact.



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Angelo Evangelou 020 7976 3597


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