Have 1 in 5 households really never worked as ‘Labour’ MP Frank Field has stated? Full Fact investigates …

22 May, 2012 – 14:55 — Tom Webb

 
Labour MP Frank Field:“I found out that one in five households has never ever had work.” (Click on the picture for more background on Field)
Labour MP Frank Field has claimed that one in five unemployed households contain a member who has never had a job.
 
He has also claimed that one in five households has never had any employment.
 
Are either of these claims true?
 
Full Fact investigates …..
 
 
 
“The Government have just released data showing that one in five unemployed households contain a member who has never had a job.”

Frank Field, House of Commons, 21 May 2012 

“I found out that one in five households has never ever had work.” 

Frank Field, quoted in The Telegraph, 21 May 2012 

_________________________________________________________________ 

Labour backbencher Frank Field made two claims about unemployed households yesterday which caused a stir on Twitter.

In the House of Commons, he claimed that one in five unemployed households contains a member who has never had a job.

He also told the Telegraph that one in five households has never had work, a subtly different take on a similar theme.

To what extent are either of these claims true?

How many unemployed households have never had work?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures on working and workless households in September 2011.

Table E of the ONS data sets out the data for households in which no member has ever worked. It is immediately apparent that Mr. Field’s statement in the Telegraph is a long way off the real figure.

Excluding student households, it would appear that only 1.5 per cent of households have never worked; if student households are included, the figure becomes 1.8 per cent.

This is drastically different from Mr Field’s claim in the Telegraph, which is that one member in one in five households has never had a job. In fact, it would appear to be that this is the case for just under one in fifty households.

The ONS does note that the proportion of households that are currentlywithout work is approximately one in five:

“The percentage of households where no adults work was 18.8 per cent.”

Mr Field’s claim, however, is very different to this. At the time of writing, it has actually been removed from the Telegraph article, although Liberal Conspiracy and others have also noted the mistake.

The Telegraph article itself does not appear to have been properly corrected however, and readers returning to the amended online article are given no clue that an important change has been made. We will therefore be contacting the Telegraph to ensure that it corrects the record properly.

Do one in five unemployed households contain a member who has never had a job?

So what are we to make of Frank Field’s claim in the Commons, where he used a slightly different formulation of the claim?

It is difficult to judge the accuracy of this statement one way or the other, as the ONS doesn’t break the figures down in quite this manner.

We don’t have information on how many members per household have never had a job. As such, it’s difficult to see how Mr Field came to the specific claim that, in one in every five households which are entirely unemployed, at least one member has never been employed at all.

What we do know is that between April and June 2011, 3.88 million households were ‘workless’, of which 370,000 were households where no adult had ever worked. Around one in 10 unemployed households were therefore comprised of members who had never worked.

We’ve been in touch with Mr Field’s office to request that he either provides the extra evidence that would be needed to stand up this claim, or that he corrects the record.

Conclusion

While we cannot verify the claim made in Parliament, we can at least firmly conclude that the (now removed) claim in the Telegraph was a long way from the real figure.

It’s encouraging that the Telegraph has removed the claim, but an acknowledgement that a mistake was made needs to be published to fully correct it.

Claims published on the websites of widely read publications such as the Telegraph can spread far and wide; simply removing information which turns out to be wildly inaccurate doesn’t do much to undo the damage done.

We look forward to being able to update when we’ve received a response from both Mr Field and the Telegraph.

Full Fact

Comments
  • jeffrey davies June 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    funny i find only stopped bscause i couldnt get paper to say i was fit for work 3and half yrs ago but both my children are in full time employment funny that im a scrounger after paying in for over41yrs something smells funny jeff3

    • Celia June 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      Must be the sanctimonious gits in the cabinet…

  • Cyberwolf June 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I notice that Frank Field seems to omit those who, along with their families, were blacklisted by the Tory Party (in the guise of the Economic League of Great Britain circa 1985) Populated by ex-Ministers of the Crown and Commercial Non-Directors of Companies who ‘advised’ Firms to ignore the application forms of people they had selected. This is ALL true, and, at present, we still do not know how many individuals, families or relatives of those blacklisted were effectively ‘forbidden’ from working.

    p.s. My Father was a Shop Steward with GMBATU from 1968 until 1985 when He, along with 17,000 of his colleagues from the same manufacturing company were made redundant: he NEVER found another full-time job. He was a member of the Labour Party, but they would NOT investigate his case.

  • DR DAVID ATOSKI June 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    jeffrey davies
    funny i find only stopped bscause i couldnt get paper to say i was fit for work 3and half yrs ago but both my children are in full time employment funny that im a scrounger after paying in for over41yrs something smells funny jeff3
    Well said Jeff 😉

    Cyberwolf
    I notice that Frank Field seems to omit those who, along with their families, were blacklisted by the Tory Party (in the guise of the Economic League of Great Britain circa 1985) Populated by ex-Ministers of the Crown and Commercial Non-Directors of Companies who ‘advised’ Firms to ignore the application forms of people they had selected. This is ALL true, and, at present, we still do not know how many individuals, families or relatives of those blacklisted were effectively ‘forbidden’ from working.
    p.s. My Father was a Shop Steward with GMBATU from 1968 until 1985 when He, along with 17,000 of his colleagues from the same manufacturing company were made redundant: he NEVER found another full-time job. He was a member of the Labour Party, but they would NOT investigate his case.

    Oh yes cyberwolf, many got black listed, even years before that. Is that foi yet by the way lol? best ask brown owl hey lol
    I’m still waiting to hear from franky boy…time will tell.

  • DAVID A SHAW June 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Frank Field is an ass, end of matter.

  • Joanna Terry June 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    To Cyberwolf: Yes it is a national disgrace that blacklisting is alive and kicking, the case of that agency running offices from Evesham in Worcester is a point in fact. It invovled people working on building sites. If a worker complained about illegal practice or took a company to court over accidents they found they could not get further employment with ANYONE. Although this hit court I do not think it in anyway impeded this bad practice and carries on much the same today. This is shameful and can only get worse in this climate of fear being deliberately introduced by this obnoxious group of “posh” boys who are only interested in running the Country for a small percentage of the population.

  • Humanity2012 June 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I Cannot Say I am Impressed by Out of Touch Politicians

    Things when Left to Politicians just Go to Pot whilst the Quality of Life goes to Hell

    If there is a Major Unemployment Crisis it is Politicians who have Allowed the
    Destruction of British Industry and who like the Terrible Tories in the 1980’s
    Rounded upon the Miners and Shut Chatham Dockyard in 1984 who are Responsible
    in Large Measure together with the Vicious In Human and Evil Capitalist System of
    Greedy Slave Driving Bosses who Hire and Fire at Will

    We Need Political & Economic Revolution to Change this Island Hellhole into
    a Island Fit for Humans to Live On

    No Wasting of Billions upon Warmongering in Afghanistan or Nuclear Weapons and
    Not Least No Invasion of Iran

  • Ian Davies May 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Now we know why Cameron appointed him to advise the Government, he’s towing the Tory tales of generous benefits keeping people from looking for work.

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