Opposition Day — [7th Allotted Day] — Zero-hours Contracts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:26 pm on 16th October 2013.

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Photo of Gordon Birtwistle Gordon Birtwistle Liberal Democrat, Burnley 2:26 pm, 16th October 2013

I do not have those figures. I only know that I have spoken to a lot of people who were on zero-hours contracts, were happy to be so rather than not working, and have now transferred to permanent contracts that are part-time or even full-time. The figures for Burnley show how successful they have been. That has been a boost for the town and for the people who work there.

I accept that, as the Secretary of State says, there are problems that need to be resolved. Those problems have always been with us; they have not started in the past three years. The Secretary of State is facing the issue head on, unlike Labour Members, who for 13 years did absolutely zero about it. In fact, their zero attention to zero hours was quite marked. He is asking for a full report and will come back to this House in a few months to give us his conclusions.

I hope that the problems are resolved and that zero-hours contracts continue. I would not like them to end, because that would take away the choice that working people have. They can work zero-hours, part-time or full-time, and it is really important that they have that choice. However, there are problems with companies taking advantage of these contracts, and we need to sort that out. I am delighted that the Secretary of State has taken that on and look forward to seeing his conclusions in the near future.