BBC News

Fewer families where no-one working

By Sean Coughlan
BBC News education and family correspondent

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThere are more than 12 million households where all adults are working

The proportion of households in the UK where no-one is working is at its lowest point for over 20 years, the Office for National Statistics says.

The figures show 14.3% of households containing working-age adults are "workless" - down 0.2% compared with the same point last year.

Fewer children were living in families where no-one was currently working.

But more children were living in households where no-one had ever worked - up by 32,000 to 204,000.

The employment figures show a picture of rising levels of work in the 21 million households with people aged between 16 and 64.

Rising employment

There are fewer workless families now than at any point in a data series going back to 1996.

In the late 1990s, about 20% of households had no adults working, but that has fallen to about 14%, representing about three million households.

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image captionAlmost 93% of fathers with dependent children are working

In about 12 million households, all the adults had jobs - with 7.5 million children living in homes where everyone was working.

The proportion of children living in workless households is down to about 10%, about half the levels of the late 1990s.

The numbers of lone parents in work have remained broadly constant for the past decade, says the ONS, with a slight rise reported in these latest figures.

The figures show that parents with dependent children are more likely to be in work than adults without dependent children.

Almost 93% of men and over 74% of women with dependent children are working - including both full-time and part-time jobs.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said: "One of the best ways to tackle poverty and give children a better chance in life is to have a working adult in the house.

"It gives them a role model to learn from and brings financial security to the home.

"Getting a job means more than just a wage, it's a way out of poverty and welfare dependency," she said.

But poverty campaigners have highlighted the importance of the quality as well as quantity of jobs - saying the changing labour market can mean families can be stuck in low-paid or insecure jobs.

They have warned that most children living in poverty are now in families where at least one parent is working.

Related Topics

  • Unemployment in the UK
  • Employment