Can London end working poverty and move to a four-day week within a decade?

Over a quarter of Londoners are in poverty, the majority of whom are in working households


A year in the making, the London Good Work Commission launches it’s final report at the homelessness charity the House of St Barnabas today. ‘Creating an Inclusive City with Good Work’ – The Final Report of the London Good Work Commission. The report is available to download at the bottom of this page. 

The Commission has found that London can end in-work poverty and move to a four-day week by 2030. But how can we achieve an inclusive city?

  • A statutory real living wage based on the cost of living.
  • Creating a Jobs Guarantee for the most excluded groups.
  • Introducing a £50 million a year Good Work Fund; to help businesses increase productivity by structuring working practices around a shorter working week.

Both the Jobs Guarantee and Good Work Fund would allow firms to redesign their workplaces into places of good work and to test and measure the impact of a 32-hour week.

The report argues this tailored and practice led approach will be crucial to making a shorter working week possible. That’s because, collective bargaining and increasing statutory holiday entitlements will only go so far in reducing working hours.

Established by London Plus and funded by Trust for London, the commission is also calling for:

  • A new right to paid leave for learning.
  • An Entrepreneurs’ Income that provides grants to individuals looking to start their own enterprises.
  • Equally anchor national and local government budgets and policies around well-being as well as growth.

A city of good work for all by 2030

The proposals form part of its wider vision to create ‘a city of good work for all by 2030’.  Earlier this year the commission investigated the extent and nature of both poverty and bad work in London.

It heard desperate accounts of people being “forced to live on just bread, butter, and water for a year”. In one instance, an individual resorted to “eating cigarette butts just to survive”.

The report, also backs the London Mayor’s call for further devolution of employment and skills to the capital. It recommends a new national youth service network involving up to 11,000 youth workers should be created to tackle gang violence. This would be funded by ending National Citizen Service. It also calls for the introduction of ethnicity and disabled persons pay gap reporting.

Voices in the sector

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee said:

“This report contains a rescue package for lower-paid workers.

The Job Guarantee, in particular, would transform the lives of those who are constantly pushed to the fringes of the labour market and beyond. I presented a bill with that aim in mind last year.

 “It would benefit jobseekers who would otherwise be drawing down benefits by building their self-confidence and giving them an opportunity to contribute to their local community while earning a wage which they could spend within that community.

Most importantly, it would make them more attractive to employers in the future, so that, after finding themselves without work, they would quickly be drawn back into the labour market”

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA & Author, ‘Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices’ said:

“The London Good Work Commission are to be commended for placing the quality of people’s work and working lives at the centre of its ambitious programme to improve social justice and well-being in the capital.”

Download the final Report ‘Creating an Inclusive City with Good Work’.