Theresa May has appointed the former head of Tony Blair's policy unit to lead a review into worker's rights and practices, following reports that millions are trapped in insecure work.

A "review of modern employment" will be launched by Matthew Taylor into why low-paid workers suffer from acute job insecurity.

Taylor said he would scrutinise modern working practices in the UK "and how to make zero-hours flexibility or self-employment work for all ordinary people".

"While 92% of people consider job security to be important, only 65% people think their job is secure and 15% think it is insecure – that's around 5 million people wondering if they will be able to pay the bills each month, or what will happen to the mortgage if they're suddenly out of work," he wrote in The Guardian.

He also cited stress as a growing factor affecting the masses, previously reserved for highly paid senior stakeholders.

He said the current work system works for many. However, he admitted six million people were not currently covered by traditional workplace protections.

"Worryingly, that number continues to grow, and it shows how rapidly changing business models and working practices are continually stretching the limits of our employment rules," he said.

"Can government do more to support non-standard workers? Can we strengthen their voice at work and in the corridors of power? Can we explore and promote new forms of enterprise, as the distinction between owner, worker, contractor and consumer gets more blurred?

"And how can we create a virtuous cycle whereby better employment practices and opportunities for career development feed into higher productivity? These are among the questions I will be reviewing."

The review aims to consider how policies such as minimum wage, maternity rights, pensions, sick pay and annual leave can be exploited by the "gig economy", where workers have temporary, contract or vendor status.

UK workers
Only 65% of British workers say they have job security Reuters

Taylor's appointment will add weight to the idea May is attempting to re-centre her ruling Conservative party by adopting more traditionally leftist policies.

May's vow to help those in Britain who are "just managing" is also expected to dominate this year's Conservative party conference in Birmingham as a way of winning over disillusioned Labour voters.

While Taylor's obligation will be to remain politically neutral, he did say credit should be given to May for looking at how to extend workers' rights.

He also confirmed the review would be independent and based on anecdotal experience of workers from a cross-section of industries throughout the country.

"It will be really important to get out and listen to people. I don't just want to be crunching data and numbers," he said.

"I want us to get out and explore what these issues about modern work mean in very different labour markets and different parts of the country. We will have to be guided by what people tell us."

Deliveroo
Deliveroo faced its first strike in the UK, while Uber has been taken to an employment tribunal by some of its drivers over worker's rights Reuters

May's aides said the review would also focus on fast-growing tech companies such as Uber and Deliveroo who classify their workforce as self-employed, meaning they are not eligible for minimum wage, sick pay, holiday pay or other employment rights.