One-third of Bradford homes hit by lifetime of no work

ONE in three households in parts of Yorkshire contains someone who has never worked, stark new figures have revealed.

In Bradford East, 36 per cent of households contain at least one adult who have never carried out meaningful work in what has been branded a “massive lost opportunity”.

The scale of the problem varies significantly across the region, with only one in 10 households in Grimsby failing to have an adult who has worked.

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Coun David Green, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration and economy, said: “These figures are particularly worrying in the respect that they will be a great deal higher in particular areas of those constituencies because there are clearly middle class sections and more deprived sections.

“We’re aware that we have households in Bradford – as do many other districts throughout the UK – that have got generations where people have not had employment in any significant way for, in some cases, three generations. The last recession in the 1980s destroyed many of the industries, particularly those industries where people with low skills or no skills used to find employment.

“That’s passed on from one generation to another. It’s a tragedy and a massive lost opportunity for both those individual families and for the district.”

The latest figures for 24 constituencies across the region show that in Bradford West almost one-third of households contain someone who has not worked. In Batley and Spen, Hull North, Rotherham, and Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, the figure is more than one in five.

These statistics come shortly after the Government revealed how nearly two million children are living in homes where no one works.

Unemployment has been rising in Yorkshire in recent months as the economy has stumbled, but the workless figures from 2010 reveal the impact of generations of joblessness.

Bradford East MP David Ward said the figures for his constituency did not surprise him.

He said: “There’s a legacy here – you can almost trace it back to the recession in the 1980s in Bradford and the fact that so many jobs were lost, particularly the manufacturing sector was badly hit.

“You had a situation where people who had never ever been unemployed lost their jobs and never got work again. Many of them had children who never worked, who had children who have never worked.”

In an attempt to lure the long-term unemployed back to work, Ministers have unveiled a payment-by-results Work Programme to give people tailored support to get back into work.

In the Autumn Statement last month, Ministers also announced a £1bn Youth Contract, providing jobs and placements for thousands of young people amid rising concern over levels of youth unemployment.

Coun Green said he was still waiting for many Government policies to kick in, and said it was “much too early” to tell how effective they would be.

But he said the council was working with other public agencies to pool resources to try to tackle some of the deep-rooted problems such as improving people’s skills and to ingrain a culture of employment in homes where worklessness is the norm.

Labour has been critical of the Government’s approach to the economy, claiming Ministers are cutting “too far and too fast” and driving up unemployment.

Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said: “These figures confirm the challenge we face to get people into employment. Over the last decade thousands of people were simply abandoned to a lifetime on benefits, and a staggering 1.84 million children are living in homes where currently no one works.

“We have already taken urgent steps to reform the welfare system by introducing Universal Credit to make work pay and incentivise people so that they can take up the offer of jobs in the economy.

“Our new Work Programme is now up and running to give people the skills they need so that they can re-engage with the labour market and widen the pool of people from which employers can recruit.”