Press release

Number of children in long-term workless households at lowest level in over a decade

The number of children in the UK living in long-term workless households is down 580,000 since 2010, falling to its lowest level in more than a decade.

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The independent figures from the Office for National Statistics today revealed that the number has been falling year on year since 2010, down 74,000 on the last year alone.

This is welcome news for the next generation, with evidence showing that growing up in a home with parents in work is linked to better performance in school and the increased likelihood of being in work as an adult.

Around 9 in 10 children now live in a home with at least one working adult, with 3.3 million more people in work than in 2010.

Latest figures also show that the number of children living in lone parent long-term workless households has fallen 70,000 on the year.

The fall in numbers comes as the government’s welfare reforms are making sure it pays to be in work, with flexible payments designed to ensure that claimants are always better off in work.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said:

Helping people into work and supporting parents and children is at the heart of what this department does. Over the last 8 years we have achieved something quite extraordinary, transforming this country’s employment opportunities and with it, children’s futures. And today we should celebrate that the number of children living in long-term workless households is at its lowest level for over a decade.

And with the latest budget announcements for Universal Credit, we intend to help even more families as we increase the amount people can earn by £1,000 before their benefit payment begins to be reduced – making sure it pays to work and helping people come off benefits.

The figures come while the UK has the lowest rate of unemployment since the 1970s and, in more good news for homes across the country, wages are outpacing inflation for the seventh month in a row.

More information

Children who grow up in workless families are almost twice as likely as children in working families to not reach the expected attainment level at all stages of their education – analysis has shown that three-quarters of children in workless families fail to reach 5 full GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and maths.

Compared to children from working families, those from workless families are also more likely to be workless in adult life. The Improving lives: Helping Workless Families policy paper includes research on the impact of children being in a workless family.

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Published 31 October 2018