I’m a journalist, I don’t do research

Sigh. I know that the tabloids have a particular point of view to push, but really, do they have to be so bad at looking at facts? The Express today tells us of the shameful 1.6 million who have never held a job. It’s a way of life that the tax payer is paying for, they cry.

Well, except it isn’t. For one thing, this is DWP research into who has never had a job – and has NOTHING to do with people claiming benefits.  There is nothing in their research that says that these people are claiming benefits. Nothing.

700,000 of those people are between 16 and 24 and could, given the number of university places, mostly conceivably be in education of some kind and living off mum and dad. Given that over 300,000 graduate each year, there should be around 1million in university. Add that to those in college, doing A-levels or NVQs and look at the number that don’t work at this time of their life because studying is important and they are able to support themselves, and you will probably find that the 700,000 covers all of them. Well, some.

Because recent graduates can’t get work. There were over 335,000 graduates this year.  Over 30,000 of these have been unable to find work since they graduated. Oh, and those 200,000 18 year olds who couldn’t get a uni place this year may also account for the 300,000 rise in the number who have never held a job compared to last year.

So, turning to the 800,000 above the age of 24, where you usually find people out of education and in the workplace. Well. There are nearly 10million people who are ‘inactive’ in this country – some are carers, some are stay-at-home parents, some don’t need to work, some are students, some are disabled and unable to work. I think that conceivably, these reasons might account for the other 800,000 people too.

According to the ONS, employment is up 286,000 on last year (although 210,000 less than two years ago) so clearly, more people are finding work. Who, exactly, are these hundreds of thousands out of education living off benefits?

Well, we have over 1.7million people claiming Disability Living Allowance who are of working age (16-64).  Perhaps some of these people have a disability that does not allow them to work, and has never allowed them to work. After all, there are 75,000 people under 25 who claim DLA.  There are also 2million stay-at-home mums. It’s possible that these are making up the majorty of that 800,00 figure.

Again, I’d like to point out that the DWP never said any of these people are on benefits. I’m sure quite a few are. I’m not saying some people have never worked out of choice as they are happier living off benefits. I’m sure there are. But I don’t think it’s 1.6million. This number proves nothing other than there are a lot of people in education and other people can’t find a job, or can’t work due to some condition or situation. And sometimes I wish that journalists wouldn’t go for the big headline when it’s so easy to disprove.


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