Fewer households have no workers


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The Independent Online

The number of households where there are no people in employment has gone down by 0.8 per cent, new figures showed today.

But the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed that the number of households where all adults that live in it work has also fallen.

From April to June this year there were 10.9 million such households, representing 53 per cent and a fall of 36,000 of homes with at least one person aged 16 to 64 where all adult members are in employment.

During the same period there were 3.7 million UK households with at least one member aged 16 to 64 where no one was in work, representing 17.9 per cent of households. This was the second consecutive fall, compared to 2010 when almost four million UK households had no adults in work.

The figures showed that 1.8 million children lived in these workless households, as did 5 million people aged 16 to 64.

Sickness, both long-term and temporary, was the main reason given for not working by those people aged 16 to 64 living in workless households, accounting for 1.45 million or around three in every 10 workless people.

The second most common reason given was being unemployed, accounting for 1.03 million, or around one in five.

The next three most common reasons were looking after the family, retirement and study.

If fully retired and student households are removed, the number of households in the UK that are workless goes down to 2.92 million.

The ONS said there was a rise of 246,000 in mixed households - those containing some people in work and some who are not. The number stood at 5.97 million, or 29.1 per cent of the total.

The lowest number of workless households was in 2006, two years before the economic downturn hit the UK. Then the number of workless households was 3.4 million or 17.3 per cent - 0.6 per cent lower than this year.

Of all the regions in the UK, the North East had the highest percentage of workless households at 24.5 per cent while the South East had the lowest at 14.1 per cent.

The ONS figures showed that the number of households in which no adult has ever worked was 340,000, down 22,000 from a year earlier.

They also show that 45 per cent of households living in council or housing association homes had occupants with no jobs, compared to 4 per cent who live in homes paid with mortgages and 23 per cent in homes that are owned outright.

The number of children living in workless households was down 60,000 from a year earlier.

Responding to the figures, Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said: “These are encouraging figures: our welfare reforms are helping more people to enter the workplace and more children are living in a household that works.

“However, we can't be complacent. The economy remains a substantial challenge, which is why we need the right employment support to ensure that those living in workless households and their children are given the opportunities and help to succeed.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “While any fall in workless households is welcome, there are still far too many neighbourhoods in Britain were decent jobs are in short supply.

“Although the number of economically inactive households is falling, the number of unemployed workless households is actually rising. This suggests that people's employment prospects are no better than before.

“These figures point to a two-speed labour market where recent employment gains are not being spread evenly across the economy or country.”