Press release

Number of children in workless households hits record low

The number of households where no one has a job has plummeted, new figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Department for Work and Pensions

This means the number of children living in households where no one works is at the lowest level for a generation.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:

There is no better example of welfare reform in action than giving children the economic security of living in a household where people are bringing home a regular pay packet.

My priority has always been to get people back to work who had been left behind – people for whom work was not part of their life. These record figures show that not only we are successfully helping people to escape worklessness and turn their lives around, but we are also giving hope to the next generation.

Graph showing how the number of workless households changed between 1996 and 2014

Today’s figures show:

  • the number of children living in a household where no one has a job is the lowest since records began 18 years ago, down by 387,000 compared to 2010
  • the number of workless households has fallen by 671,000 since 2010, bringing it to a record low – there are now 271,000 fewer workless households than there were this time last year, the largest annual fall on record
  • the number of households where no one has ever worked is down by 49,000 since 2010
  • the employment rate for lone parents is also the highest on record and has seen the largest ever annual increase

The government has introduced a range or reforms to bring fairness to the benefits system and encourage people who are able to move into work. This has contributed to record numbers of people in work and the largest annual fall in unemployment since records began over 40 years ago.

Reforms include:

  • the benefit cap, which ensures families don’t receive more benefits than the average family earns
  • Universal Credit, the biggest change to the welfare system in a generation
  • the Claimant Commitment which spells out what we expect from jobseekers when they search for work
  • the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, which helps people on benefits to become their own boss
  • the Work Programme, which has so far helped 330, 000 people escape long-term unemployment.

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Published 29 October 2014