"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Why demonizing people as 'unemployed' won't solve growing economic inactivity.

As the gloves come off for an election yr, Britain's would-be leaders are circling a brand new political punchbag: those that “Economically Inactive”.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), this term indicates People who should not currently employed, who haven’t searched for work prior to now 4 weeks and who’re unable to start out work in the subsequent two weeks. Between November 2023 and January 2024, 9.25 million 16- to 64-year-olds were inactive. This equates to 21.8% of all working-age adults.

The renewed political focus is the most recent incarnation of what sociologists have called because the Seventies. “bad phobia”. mine research It seems that Myths Those around individuals who should not working have long been promoted by mainstream UK politicians and the right-wing news media.

What the statistics actually show, nevertheless, is that many individuals face serious and complicated life challenges. Economic inactivity is on the rise as a result of mental illness and disability, growing NHS waiting lists and the UK's growing dependency ratio. Unpaid caregivers. Many of those affected face deep poverty after years of cuts. Benefits outside of work.

Researchers note a mental health crisis affecting young people.
Samuel Wordley/Global.

Unemployed households

The Conservative Party is starting again. Myths of the Allied Era About the “polytheists” and the “evildoers”. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has vowed to withdraw advantages from content “jobless” householdsShore up taxpayers' hard work

Meanwhile, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride has insulted him. A growing number Among young people diagnosed with work-limiting mental health conditions which are too debilitating to administer life.Normal ups and downs” and Rishi Shank announced the crackdown, calling the advantages “a lifestyle choice”. “Sick Note Culture”.

Meanwhile, in its efforts to court floating voters in red (and blue) walled seats, the Labor Party is respectfully recasting this audience as “working people”. This is clear in countless speeches, Commons debates and far of Labour's chant. A new deal for workers.

In a ___ Recent speechShadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liz Kendall, Condemned Ministers' “failure to achieve welfare”. Drawing on pictures of individuals not working voluntarily, often by Tory ministers, she said: “The reality is that increasing numbers of people are leaving the labor market and no longer even looking for work.”

The very first thing to notice is that this dramatic increase within the economic inactivity rate includes some people whom nobody would expect to work. One in 4 of those counts. Full-time students.

Further, there’s a brand new Resolution Foundation report appraisal Britain's post-pandemic inactivity problem as a “U-shaped legacy”. People in each the 16 to 24 and 50 to 64 brackets account for a combined 90 percent increase in economic inactivity since 2019.

Four years of Covid have triggered what journalists have described. “The Great Retirement” – An increasing tendency amongst burned-out or financially secure middle-aged and older staff to go away the workforce. However, recent ONS data shows that ongoing economic inactivity is increasing. is being run by young adults.

Analysis by senior Resolution Foundation economist Louis Murphy Highlights The growing problem of long-term illness amongst young people. Since 2020, the variety of applications for private independence payments (the essential non-means-tested profit for individuals with health conditions or disabilities) has increased by 68% in England and Wales. This contrasts with a 138 percent increase amongst 16- and 17-year-old applicants and a 77 percent increase amongst 18- to 24-year-olds.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that, between January 2022 and November 2023, 69% Assessment of work capacity (Tests used to find out if someone is fit enough for work) Mental and behavioral impairments were recorded. Murphy points out that the youngest and oldest claimants are the most probably to receive health advantages.

What is the answer?

The pandemic has seen work turn out to be more precarious, wages stagnate and the price of living and global uncertainty rise. This has resulted in an actual Mental health crisis among the many youth.

In 2021-22, 30 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds reported symptoms of conditions including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Among inactive young people, 80% have only GCSE or lower level qualifications.

Murphy due to this fact argues for higher support services at underserved colleges and higher arrangements for young people to retake exams. On the contrary, there are politicians. mockery Youth due to not working.

In an interview with The Telegraph in March, Stride said: “If they go to the doctor and say, 'I'm feeling very low and catty,' the doctor will give them an average of seven minutes and then 94 percent of the time, they're not worth taking.” It might be signed. Leave any work.”

Kendall, meanwhile, is warned Young people who there might be “no life on benefits option” under Keir Starmer's Labor Party.

Inactivity data point to other barriers to paid work: long-term illnesses and physical disabilities and unpaid care work. Government statistics These show that they disproportionately affect those affected by interpersonal inequalities, including those related to race, ethnicity or gender.

The highest rates of inactivity (33%) are among the many British Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities. This group also suffers from the biggest gender gap: 48% of girls, in comparison with 19% of men, are disconnected from the labor market, often as a result of family care duties.

The most shameful hidden story of inactivity is buried deep in the information. “Below Average Income Households” Issued by the DWP in March 2024.

In 2023, 25% of households with children were living in absolute poverty. This signifies that one in 4 families had net disposable income below 60% of the 2011 median income, adjusted for inflation. Another 30% were in relative poverty (below 60% of the 2023 average).

Seven out of 10 poor families include a minimum of one working adult. This is the statistic. Rightly submitted. In the media

However, the incontrovertible fact that 59 percent of all children in so-called “jobless families” were in relative poverty is all but ignored. This represents greater than 3 times the variety of so-called “working families”. This is the very best poverty rate amongst inactive families since 2007.

Out-of-work advantages, which were price 20.1 percent of the common salary in 1971, are Set to fall By 2030, this amount might be halved. This is the results of 14 years of austerity measures by successive Conservative-led governments.

In other words, the acute levels of poverty endured by economically inactive people (as highlighted in the federal government's own data) are a deliberate political selection to consistently eliminate advantages. is a direct result.

Starmer Is have repeatedly failed to handle the link between profit cuts, inactivity and working-age poverty. Labor is due to this fact complicit. By adopting this position, politicians across the board are denying, and perpetuating, a national disgrace.