Workshy UK where hardly anyone lives in hardship... but Britain also has Europe's highest rate of homes without jobs
It's an old Australian saying that a Pom wouldn't work in an iron lung so the report below will be no surprise in Australia
Britain has Europe’s highest rate of people living in homes where no one has a job, it was revealed yesterday. But at the same time, the proportion of families who consider themselves to be ‘deprived’ is one of the lowest in the EU.
Analysts point to this contradiction as evidence that our welfare system is too generous to the workshy. Nearly one in eight children and working age adults in the UK live in a home where no one goes out to work. However fewer than one in 20 say they can’t afford to pay their bills, eat properly, go on holiday, run a car or have a colour TV or a mobile phone.
The picture of a country where large numbers of people do not work – yet can afford to live as if they earn good money – was put together by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics arm.
It comes as the Government faces opposition to its attempts to cap families to a maximum income from state handouts of £26,000 a year.
The figures show there is a higher proportion of people living in homes without work in the UK than in EU countries hit by the euro crisis.
In Britain, 13.1 per cent of the population aged under 59 lives in a home where no adult works for 20 per cent of their time. In Germany, the workless proportion of the population is 11.1 per cent, in France 9.8 per cent, and in Italy 10.2 per cent.
Britain’s closest rival in the workless league table is Belgium, where 12.6 per cent of people under 59 are in homes with very little work. However, in Britain only 4.8 per cent of people count as ‘materially deprived’, similar to levels in Germany which has 4.5 per cent.
This means that they cannot afford to pay for four out of nine ‘deprivation items’. The nine things that are considered to lift a family out of the deprived category are the ability to pay the rent or utility bills on time; to keep the house warm; to be able to pay an unexpected bill; to eat meat or fish every second day; to afford a week’s holiday; to run a car; to have a washing machine; to have a colour TV and to have a mobile phone.
In France, the ‘deprived’ make up 5.8 per cent of the population and in Italy 6.9 per cent.
Yesterday critics said the figures exposed flaws in the welfare system. Douglas Carswell, Tory MP for Clacton, said: ‘They show that the welfare system is not doing what it is supposed to do. It is meant to help people who need help because they have fallen on hard times, not people who have learned to play the system.
‘The welfare system has become a means of achieving lifestyle choices for people who do not want jobs, and who are reluctant to get up at six in the morning to go out to work.’
Economist Ruth Lea, of the Arbuthnot Banking Group, added: ‘One factor is that Britain has more single parent families than other countries in Europe. Families with two parents tend to be working families.’