Although the total number of zero-hours contracts rose, as a proportion of the number of people in work, the number of zero-hours contracts remained the same (6 per cent). Zero hours contracts had been falling (they reached a peak of 2.1 million in 2015). Employers turned to the contracts in the years after the financial crisis – they were desperate for cheap labour, and workers were desperate for work. Since then, a number of employers have stopped using them after high profile scandals (like Sports Direct). And, economists had said, the fall in the unemployment rate means workers are in a better position to demand better conditions and pay ('cos it's not as easy to replace them).
Theresa May had promised more stable working conditions, but stopped short of banning the contracts outright. The Resolution Foundation (which wants to improve living conditions for people on low-incomes) said May is letting the 'tightness' of the labour market do her work for her, "rather than having a policy which helping people".