Idleness is part of a series by Agenda Publishing on each of Beveridge’s five giants: squalor, disease, ignorance, want and idleness.

When Beveridge wrote his report in 1942, the UK had just emerged from 20 years of very high unemployment. Today, we have historically high employment. If he were writing today, low-paid work would be the giant he’d seek to slay.

UK workers are stuck in a low-pay, low-productivity rut, with far too many people working in poor quality, insecure jobs, with little training or chance of getting on. In their new book ‘Idleness’, Katy Jones and Ashwin Kumar question the mantra that “work is the best way out of poverty” and examine the in-work poverty that now defines employment for many.