A duty of care

Think tank: Social Market Foundation

Author(s): Jake Shepherd; Richard Hyde

June 7, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at in-work poverty in London’s public sector.

In-work poverty is not just a problem experienced by workers in the private sector – nearly 140,000 Londoners who live in a household relying on a public sector wage, are in poverty. This equates to about 1 in 10 such households in the capital, in comparison with 1 in 13 across the rest of the UK: public sector households in London are more likely to be in poverty than those elsewhere in the country. Through a programme of interviews with public sector workers in poverty, we learnt that pay rates and inadequacy/uncertainty of hours were at the heart of their problems. Whilst the public service ethos helped to maintain motivation among some of those we interviewed, many were unsurprisingly keen to move to higher-paying private sector alternatives as soon as they could. To help the public sector do more to support workers in the most vulnerable economic circumstances, the SMF is working with Trust for London to establish a new in-work poverty benchmark – and our work on it is well underway.