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EQ weekly roundup

This week’s roundup includes news that one in 20 workers are not getting paid holiday, the rollout of smart meters has been delayed until 2024 and cash machines are closing fastest in poorer areas.

One in 20 workers ‘do not get paid holiday’

Illegal work practices are “far too common” says a think tank study.

About one in 20 workers does not get paid holidays, whilst one in 10 does not get a payslip, according to a report by the Resolution Foundation think tank.

It found workers over the age of 65 are most likely to not have paid holidays, despite a legal entitlement to 28 days a year, or pro-rota for part-timers. Workers aged 25 and under are twice as likely to be underpaid the minimum wage than any other age group.

The think tank says its findings reveal the extent of illegal labour practices.

Workers in hotels and restaurants miss out more than others on legal workplace entitlements, the report says.

Meanwhile, those in small firms, employing fewer than 25, are most likely to not get payslips and paid leave, as are workers on zero-hours and temporary contracts, the Resolution Foundation said.

The analysis was published to mark the start of the organisation's three-year investigation into the enforcement of labour market rules and regulations.

Smart meter rollout delayed for four years

The government has pushed back the deadline for smart energy meter rollout by four years until 2024.

Previously, suppliers' deadline was the end of 2020, but energy firms had warned the technology was not ready.

But the extra time could lead to more years of frustration for customers, many of whom are fed up with the new meters they have been given.

It also means the cost of installing the new equipment is likely to rise further, to more than £13bn in total.

Customers are not obliged to have a smart meter fitted, but energy firms must have offered them to all UK households by the end of the new deadline.

The promise of smart meters was that readings would be automatic, billing would be easier, and a new world of flexible charges would be ushered in.

In practice, millions of people found they had new meters which did not work properly if they switched suppliers - and millions more have not been given the technology at all.

Cash machines closing fastest in poor areas, chancellor told

Millions of people who rely on cash will be left behind without urgent action from the government, Chancellor Sajid Javid has been warned.

Consumer association Which? said that free-to-use cash machines were disappearing quicker in deprived areas than in affluent ones.

Campaigners want Mr Javid to implement a cash guarantee for those who need it.

The industry network said that cash use was falling but work was being done to ensure nobody was left behind.

The calculations from Which? suggest that hundreds of free-to-use ATMs are closing every month across the UK. The report breaks down the loss of free cash machines by parliamentary constituency.

They show the biggest reductions in lower-income areas, such as Birmingham Ladywood where 47 have gone, Bristol West (down 40), Manchester Central (down 36) and Cardiff Central (down 34) in the 18 months since a new system made them less economic to run.