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British Government Report Seeks a Cashless Economy

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:58 PM
Rebecca Campbell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:58 PM

A government review on the U.K.’s gig economy employment practices is seeking a cashless economy in the future suggesting that cash paper should be phased out.

One of the topics of discussion in the U.K. at the moment regards the gig economy. Previously known as the ‘sharing economy’ or the ‘collaborative economy’, the gig economy derives its name from each piece of work done where a worker gets paid instead of a regular income.

As described by the BBC, a gig economy is :

Either a working environment that offers flexibility with regard to employment hours, or … it is a form of exploitation with very little workplace protection.

With 2017 estimates suggesting that 1.1 million people in the U.K. work in the gig economy, this topic is causing quite a stir among the general population.

According to the author, Matthew Taylor, he said in the 115-page report  that:

…fairness demands that we ensure people, particularly those on lower incomes, have routes to progress in work, have the opportunity to boost their earning power, and are treated with respect and decency at work.

He added that one of the main issues was that power was thought to be controlled too much by the employer and that employers sought to use one-sided flexibility to transfer risk on the workers.

Taylor wrote:

Being able to work when you want is a good thing; not knowing whether you have work from one day to the next when you have bills to pay is not.

He pointed out that flexibility was a key attribute to any successful business, enabling them to respond to changing market conditions. While Taylor’s report didn’t appear to attack the gig economy, he mentioned that flexibility was important to maintain record employment rates.

In the report, he focused on the Labor Force Survey published in March, which found that almost one-fifth of people on zero hours contracts are in full-time education and that 68 percent of those on zero hours contracts don’t want more hours.

A Cashless Economy

The review has called on the U.K. government to explore the ways in which it could improve pension provision amongst the self-employed. It believes that digital platforms and a move to cashless transactions would help this cause.

According to the report, self-employed people are less likely to save for their retirement compared to employed people. Not only that, but it could also benefit tax payment issues.

Government should consider accrediting a range of platforms designed to support the move towards more cashless transactions with a view to increasing transparency of payments, supporting individuals to pay the right tax.

Even though Taylor doesn’t mention it, further down the line, it’s possible that the implementation of the blockchain could be included, which would ensure the transparency of a cashless economy.

Featured image from Shutterstock.