"For too long the welfare state has failed families, making a life on benefits simpler than stepping out to work.The number of workless households rose during the boom years while foreign workers stepped in to take jobs. Our reforms are fixing the benefits system"
I was surprised. You'd certainly expect unemployment to go down during a boom so why would things go so badly for "households where where no-one aged 16 or over is in employment"? (Office for National Statistics definition)
So I made a Freedom of Information request to find out what the statistics were. While I was waiting for an answer, I did some searching and found the ONS Working and Workless Households,2013 - Statistical Bulletin. Here I found a link to some raw data. To make things easier, I plotted a chart:
|Workless households 1996-2013|
There's still a mystery though: Why was the spokesman relying on statistics about households where no one has ever worked to make a claim about workless households? I've asked for a FOI review just in case there's a silly mistake somewhere. Wait for the next exciting episode!
PS: For more about households where no one has ever worked and how statistics about them can be misleading, see here
PPS: (14/3/14) Others have picked up this issue
PPPS: (28/03/14) DWP has admitted: "On this occasion, the statement provided to the Express should have been worded more specifically to make clear it was referring to the number of households where no one ever