Through Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families, we set out comprehensive evidence on worklessness and its associated disadvantages, including evidence on the intergenerational transmission of worklessness in the UK. Children who grow up with workless parents are more likely to be workless themselves as adults, in comparison to children who grow up with working parents (Macmillan, 2010; Schoon et al, 2012). Gregg et al (2017) find a strong association between being in a workless household aged 14/15, and poorer educational outcomes, and worklessness and poverty in adulthood.
Making a meaningful difference to the lives of disadvantaged children requires an approach that goes beyond the safety net of the welfare state to tackle the root causes of child poverty and disadvantage. Work is key to alleviating poverty; children in workless households are five times more likely to be in poverty than those in households where all adults were working. This Government’s policies support and encourage work, helping to break the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage. Compared to 2010, there are 505,000 fewer children in long-term workless households and 97,000 fewer households where no one has ever worked.
References and sources can be found in the Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families evidence base.