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Friday, June 03, 2011

Labour's failure on worklessness

As a Liberal Democrat I have had to put up with a lot of abuse from Labour over benefit reform and the attempt by the Coalition Government to put right their mess and get the economy on track. In some cases, such as with disability benefits there are valid criticisms that need to be addressed, but in many other ways proposed changes are just continuations of policies started under Labour or have broad support from the opposition parties.

However, this story in today's Telegraph throws new light on the crocodile tears shed by the Labour Party. They say that Office for National Statistics published data shows that the number of households where no adult has ever experienced paying work doubled under the last Labour government:

In the second quarter of 1997, when Tony Blair took office, there were 184,000 households where no adult had ever worked. In the second quarter of 2010, when Labour left office, the figure was 352,000.

Earlier ONS figures suggest that as much as half of the increase in workless households was explained by the increase in the number of students in higher education.

But critics of the last Government said the figures showed that Labour had overseen a growing “culture of welfare dependency” in Britain.

The figures from the ONS Labour Force Survey showed that in the second quarter of 2010, a total of 552,000 adults were living in households where no one had ever worked.

A third of those were in student households where residents chose not to work because of their studies.

That leaves 374,000 adults who could work but have never done so, living in a total of 269,000 households.

Those households were home to 258,000 children, the ONS calculated. Studies show that children growing up in workless households are more likely to end up without work as adults.

In total, 632,000 adults and children are in households with no experience of work.

An ONS survey of those who have never worked also revealed that almost three quarters were not seeking a job. Some 68 per cent of non-students in workless households – 254,000 -- said that they were “not seeking a job and would not like to work.”

Only 13 per cent were classified as “unemployed” and declaring themselves available to work.

This is evidence of the culture of benefit dependency that grew up under Labour. No wonder they are shouting so loud. They are hoping to distract us so that we wouldn't notice.
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