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Number of jobless households soars

PUBLISHED: 13:10 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:42 06 July 2010

THE number of households in the UK with no one over the age of 16 working has increased by 240,000 over the past year to 3.3 million, official figures showed yesterday.

THE number of households in the UK with no one over the age of 16 working has increased by 240,000 over the past year to 3.3 million, official figures showed yesterday.

The Office for National Statistics also reported that the number of working-age people in so-called workless households jumped by 500,000 to 4.8 million in the year to June.

The workless household rate increased by 1.1pc to 16.9pc the highest since 1999 and the biggest year-on-year increase since Labour came to power in 1997.

The number of households with someone in work fell by 410,000 to 10.7 million, the figures revealed.

The workless household rate was highest for lone parents at 40.4pc, followed by one-person households at 30.1pc, with the worst figures recorded in the North East at 23.2pc.

The lowest rate was in the East of England at 12.2pc.

Figures showed that the biggest fall in the employment rate over the past year was for married fathers, down 2.1pc to 88.8pc.

The number of children in workless households was 1.9 million in June, up by 170,000 from a year ago.

John Atkinson, associate director at the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “The distribution of unemployment among households has the effect of concentrating the negative consequences of worklessness among families where no family member works.

“The number of such families has proved rather stable over the previous five years, rising by only 43,000 between 2003 and 2008.

“However, this number has risen sharply in the past year with a rise of nearly a quarter of a million in the number of wholly workless households to 3.3 million, some 17pc of all households.

“Eighteen months ago, worklessness was in decline. Government programmes encouraging lone parents and the long-term sick back into employment were a part of that success story. Today we can see that the recession is unravelling much of that progress.

“The concentration of worklessness among families has serious consequences for the children within them, and this cuts directly across Government policy on child poverty.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “This concerning rise in the number of children in workless households shows the devastating impact that rising unemployment can have on families.

“With unemployment continuing to rise sharply, it is vital that the Government continues to do more to get people back to work. The Future Jobs Fund must continue to be properly resourced and expanded so that more people - including older job seekers - can benefit from it.”

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