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In this week's roundup we look at a new government report calling for more rights for workers in the so-called 'gig economy', a slowdown in the sales decline recently experienced at Marks and Spencer, a continued fall in house prices during June, and research indicating the steepest drop in household income since 2011.

Govt report: More rights for 'gig economy' workers

A new government report has called for workers in the so-called 'gig economy' to be afforded more rights. The publication stated that those working for firms such as food courier Deliveroo and taxi app Uber deserve more rights amid fears that working without fixed contracts could lead to exploitation.

However, such practices are viewed by others as providing greater flexibility for workers, who are effectively self-employed and able to work for different employers simultaneously.

Currently, self-employed workers in Britain only have access to basic employment rights such as health and safety and anti-discrimination laws, and not other rights such as the minimum wage, annual leave and rest breaks.

M&S sales decline slows

The sales decline recently reported by Marks and Spencer's (M&S) clothing and home division slowed in the first quarter of the financial year, the retailer has revealed. 

M&S said like-for-like sales in the three months to July 1 2017 fell by 1.2%, which was markedly lower than the 5.9% drop posted in the final quarter of its financial year. Sales across the business climbed by 2.8% to reach £2.5 billion.

Chief Executive Steve Rowe said: "Trading in the first quarter was in line with our expectations and we are on track with delivery of the plan we announced last year."

Halifax: House prices continued to fall in June

New findings from Halifax have revealed that house prices in the UK continued to fall in June, dipping by 1% across the month.

The drop, which represents the first three-months-in-a-row fall since November 2012, means the average price of a house or a flat now stands at £218,390.

Martin Ellis, Housing Economist at Halifax, commented: "Although employment levels continue to rise, household finances face increasing pressure as consumer prices grow faster than wages. This, combined with the new stamp duty on buy-to-let and second homes in 2016, appears to have weakened housing demand in recent months."

Household income dropping at steepest rate since 2011 - ONS

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that real household disposable incomes in the UK are decreasing at their fastest rate for six years.

It was shown that the amount of money families have to spend after taking into account any tax and benefits was 2% lower in the first quarter of this year compared to 2016.

The rise in inflation, which reached 2.3% in the year to March, was cited as the main reason for the reduction. 

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