London's gig economy has grown 72 per cent since 2010

 
Rebecca Smith
In August Deliveroo was told it must pay workers the minimum wage
In August Deliveroo was told it must pay workers the minimum wage (Source: Getty)

You might have suspected it given the influx of cyclists zooming by with Deliveroo boxes, and new research has confirmed it: the capital's gig economy is booming.

In fact, it's grown 72 per cent, across the transport and storage sector, since 2010.

The gig economy, driven by casual work, has become hugely popular in London, according to analysis by the New Economics Foundation, which used ONS business population estimates.

Often workers in the gig economy use apps to find customers seeking delivery services or odd jobs here and there.

The growth across the nation in the overall number of "non-employing businesses" was 28 per cent, but for London's transport and delivery sector the increase was considerably steeper.

Read more: Drawing up new employment law for the gig economy won't be easy

Marc Stears, chief executive at the foundation, warned that developments in Britain's gig economy were a concern for the entire labour market:

Workers in the UK already feel among the highest sense of job insecurity of any in Europe and work among the longest hours.

Yet we have built a labour market that systematically strips all of us of control.

A growing gig economy means thousands more people without the security of a regular wage, a pension or full employment rights.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicts that in 2020/21 the rise of the gig economy will hit the Treasury's tax intake, to the tune of £3.5bn. Chancellor Philip Hammond said the tax system "needs to keep pace" with technological progress.

Read more: Uber drivers are NOT self-employed, says employment tribunal

The highly publicised Uber case over whether its drivers were self-employed or entitled to workers' rights, along with moves by Deliveroo and CitySprint couriers to seek workers' rights, have led to scrutiny over the gig economy and debate over balancing people's wish for flexible working arrangements with security.

The foundation's report said that "flexibility is valuable to many of these workers, but flexibility and high working standards are not mutually exclusive".

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