Glasgow and Liverpool are named as the top workless areas in the UK for the ninth year running, amid calls for a US-style “work for the dole” scheme to reduce welfare costs.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 30 per cent of households in Glasgow are workless – the highest percentage in the country.
The ONS defines a workless household as one which contains at least one person aged between 16-64 – but does not have anyone registered as working.
Across the UK an average of 18 per cent of households are workless.
The news came as the Taxpayer’s Alliance (TPA) said only the “extreme sanction” of stripping people who refused to do 30 hours’ community work a week of all state help would force them to seek “proper jobs”.
The TPA said the scheme could save £3.5bn a year in welfare costs and help hundreds of thousands of people to get off benefits.
It claimed that two thirds of jobs created since 2000 have been taken by “immigrant prepared to work hard rather than rely on benefits” while many Britons “evidently weren’t interested”.
Under the proposed scheme, those claiming the new Universal Credit would have their payments automatically suspended if they declined to take part in prescribed activities.
For most that would mean 30 hours a week of community service, charity work, approved training, work experience or “meaningful” job hunting with officials.
According to ONS statistics, Glasgow had the highest percentage of workless households last year, while Liverpool had the second highest with 28.7 per cent, followed by Kingston upon Hull with 27.6 per cent, Birmingham with 27.4 per cent and Wolverhampton with 27.3 per cent.
The ONS said: “The common link among some of the areas with the highest percentage of workless households is that they were all heavily industrialised in the last century. Glasgow was once a major force in shipbuilding as well as other engineering, but competition overseas has seen that decline since the 1960s”.
Yet according to the ONS report, sickness or disability is the main reason people listed for being workless across the country.
Overall, 28 per cent of workless households named sickness/disabilities as the reason for not working.
A further 20 per cent reported themselves as unemployed, while 18 per cent said they had retired early, 16 per cent said they were looking after their families or home and 13 per cent were registered as students. The remainder listed “other” as their reason for not working.
The areas with the lowest percentage of workless households were Hampshire, where just 10.6 per cent are workless, followed by North Northamptonshire with 11.2 per cent, Buckingham County Council and West Sussex, both with 11.3 per cent and Surrey with 11.4 per cent.