Fears for workless households as cost of living crisis rages
published on 1 Jun 2022
Fears for workless excluded from jobs market as cost of living crisis rages
As new figures* reveal 2.8 million workless UK households, The Salvation Army has warned Government efforts to get people into work haven’t reached those furthest from the labour market as they struggle with rising costs.
New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found an estimated 13.4% of UK homes where no adult is in work, down 0.5 percentage points compared with the same period last year. Though the figures also include people who are unable to work or choose not to because of their circumstances, the church and charity’s concern is for those excluded from the workforce.
The Salvation Army wants the Government to properly fund services that help disadvantaged jobseekers into work and out of poverty plus a rapid review of skills shortages in areas with a high number of workless households.
Rebecca Keating, Director of Employment Plus at The Salvation Army, said: “A secure job with a decent wage is one of the best paths out of poverty. However, despite a record level of job vacancies, for many of the people who come to our food banks, shelters and support services the usual roots to employment are blocked.
“These are people who are desperate to work and make a better life for themselves but face obstacles such as a lack of education or relevant skills, mental or physical health problems, are lone parents who can’t afford childcare or are facing housing challenges. The current Government programmes designed to get more people into work simply don’t work for them.
“Properly funding specialist support to help those struggling to enter the workforce is not just morally right, it’s also the only way the Government can successfully rejuvenate local economies. We can’t just plough on having parts of the country with a high number of people who are not earning. This not only traps entire communities in poverty but it deters private sector investment and undermines efforts to level up the UK.
“We know from experience that with the right support disadvantaged people can be helped to find good jobs. Our trained volunteers and staff provide specialist Employment Plus** services in some of the country’s most deprived areas and help thousands of struggling jobseekers every year.
“We urge the Government not to write off those furthest from the job market. The personal and financial cost is too great.”
The Salvation Army is calling on the Government to help people in poverty into the workforce by:
- Setting up a cross-Government task force to tackle, with empathy and compassion, the reasons people are not earning and are trapped in poverty.
- Ringfenced funding for specialist employability support and skills training through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to support vulnerable jobseekers living in deprived communities.
- Expanding free childcare provision so parents can afford to work or train.