Fife has fewer working households than almost anywhere in the UK

Fife has fewer working households than almost anywhere in the UK, according to new data.
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Last year saw the first national rise in the number of working-age households without an employed adult since 2010, before rising food and energy prices led to soaring inflation this year.

The Institute for Public Policy Research said the rise in workless households is "seriously concerning", especially during the rising cost of living.

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Office for National Statistics figures show 93,913 Fife households containing one or more occupants aged between 16 and 64 had at least one person in employment in 2021.

Picture Michael GillenPicture Michael Gillen
Picture Michael Gillen

It meant 76.9% of households were classed as either working – where all working-age adults are in employment – or mixed, with at least one working and one workless adult.

This was up from 76.7% the year before, but still among the lowest proportions in the UK.

Across the UK, the number of households with at least one employed adult fell for the first time since 2010 last year – from 86.3% to 85.9%.

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In Fife, just 28,170 households (23.1%) had no working-age occupants in employment last year.

Rachel Statham, associate director for work and welfare state at the IPPR, said: "It’s seriously concerning to see a rise in workless households as our cost-of-living crisis deepens this winter, and it’s clear that urgent action is needed to keep people in the workforce as living costs soar."

Across the UK, 34% of workless households said they did not work because of sickness or disability. This was the most common reason given in every region across the country – in Scotland, it was 38%.

"We need to see urgent action from our new Government to drive down waiting lists, improve access to employability services for people struggling with health problems, and strengthen social security for those who are unable to work due to ill health or disability, or this trend will result in significant social and economic costs over the long term," Ms Statham added.

The Department for Work and Pensions said it has supported 1.3 million people with disabilities into work in the last five years.