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Customer Review

27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True to life account, 2 Oct. 2003
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This review is from: Hard Work: Life in Low-pay Britain (Paperback)
As somebody who unexpectedly found myself down and out in London from late 2001 to early 2002, I found this book complelling and true to life on the work element of the low waged poverty problem. The only caveat I have with the account is that many people rightly spot the work/welfare related causes but do not recognise that domestic causes are just as oppressive and difficult to overcome.
I was shocked to discover in London that not only is it difficult to come by even modestly paid work, the road to success is fraught with exploitative agencies, rouge employers, but also greedy private landlords and predatory moneylenders. While the book missed out on the harsh deal dealt out to those in private rented accomodation and under the scourge of door-to-door lenders (though the book does note one south London based hire purchase shop that mercilessly exploits vulnerable people on low incomes) the account of the employment based exploitation was hard hitting and accurate.
I liked the way the book talked to people face to face - for example the manager of the Care home, and the man from the DWP social fund. In fairness, the description of the Social Fund was much rosier than my experience of it.
Above all, the book points out the chilling fact that the situation is worsening. The lowest paid workers find it virtually impossible to obtain proper pay rises or greater rights, while the better off workers get huge pay hikes. Its a book that anybody involved in policy making or sociology should be forced to read.
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Location: Dublin, Ireland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,063,175