Katie Allen poses three crucial questions on how to improve Britain’s productivity (The road to greater productivity is via pay and flexibility, 28 November). Namely how it links in with low pay, how it interacts with working hours, and what it tells us about the importance of staff taking ownership of their work.
I have put a proposal to the government that sets out to cover each of these points. I have proposed a network of public employment services, driven locally by Jobcentre Plus and sustained by City Deal funding, with the specific aim of helping low-paid workers to climb the earnings ladder and craft their jobs to match their skills and circumstances.
Its main benefit to workers would be the provision by a dedicated caseworker of information, advice and guidance, as part of a clear and agreed contract which is aimed at helping them earn more money and improve their working lives – be it through altering their hours, negotiating a pay increase, taking advantage of local childcare services or discounts on public transport, gaining specialist skills, or finding work elsewhere for which their circumstances are better suited.
The government’s own in-work service is currently being piloted among a limited group of universal credit claimants only. To help solve the productivity puzzle in which our country finds itself, a more comprehensive offer is required to help change the nature of low-paid work.
Frank Field MP