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Economically Inactive

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of the 2 million economically inactive people who would like to work are receiving benefits, broken down by benefit. (75345)

In January-March 2006 there were 7,943,000 inactive people of working age in the United Kingdom. Of these 2,019,000 (25 per cent.) wanted to work.1

Latest LFS data suggest that of the 2 million inactive people who want to work: around one quarter are claiming housing and/or council tax benefit; around 15 per cent. are claiming sickness or disability benefits (excluding disabled persons tax credit); around 17 per cent. are claiming child benefit; less than two per cent. were claiming jobseeker’s allowance; and around one third are not claiming benefits.2

Comparison between the data collected by the LFS and administrative data shows that the LFS consistently undercounts benefit claimants. However, the LFS data give an indication of the benefits received. It is important to note because of these caveats and the small sample sizes of the data used, the figures above are subject to a great degree of uncertainty.


1 Labour Force Survey (LFS), January-March 2006.

2 Labour Force Survey Winter 2005.