Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, wrote a blog piece recently about the disturbing practice arising at some book festivals, where authors are not paid for appearing. Her rallying cry was taken up by the Bookseller and the Society of Authors, which recently published guidelines about the level at which authors should peg event fees.
There were a number of nods made to the technology industry during Osborne's speech last Wednesday, including pledges to fund the development of applications for the Internet of Things, smart cities and driverless cars. Yet while the boost was well received, there seemed to be little understanding of the real challenges currently facing the digital sector.
Both in life and government we're often so busy 'doing', we sometimes do not take sufficient time to pause and reflect. This can be less of an issue in life, when a failure to reflect might mean you still buy paper copies of a newspaper when, in fact, you mainly read it on your phone. However, in government, a failure to reflect can have widespread ramifications across many lives.
The Chancellor had a good tale to tell about falling unemployment, falling welfare bills, growth in output and living standards. He talked repeatedly about how the government of which he is a member is "fixing the roof as the sun begins to shine." The problem is, if we're not able to train people to do the job, he may find himself having to fix his own roof.
The life of a zero hours employee is in many ways similar to that of a freelancer. Compare a graphic designer working in a company to a freelance designer. The freelancer has to hustle for new work, they need to network, they need to produce work, and they only ever get paid as each project is completed. They are paid only for their output...
We need mental health and employment support available for everyone who needs it, whether to help them stay in work or get back into the labour market. And we need to become a nation of mental health friendly employers, where staff are able to talk about mental health difficulties in the knowledge that they will not be discriminated against or passed over because of it.
People looking for their first job have long had a raw deal in the labour market. The effects of the financial crisis in 2008 meant employers disproportionately scaled back recruitment of entry level jobs and the most recent ONS statistics concerning those Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) say there are still 954,000 young (16 -24) NEETs.