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The number of workless households has increased by 240,000 in the past year

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The number of households in the UK where no one over 16 has a job has increased by 240,000 over the past year.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there are 3.3 million ‘workless houses' in the UK - 17% of households - and the number with someone in work fell by 410,000 to 10.7 million.

Commenting on the findings, John Atkinson, associate director at the Institute for Employment studies, said: "The distribution of unemployment among households has the effect of concentrating the negative consequences of worklessness among families where no family member works. The number of such families has proved rather stable over the previous five years, rising by only 43, 000 between 2003 and 2008. But the number has risen sharply in the past year."
 
"Eighteen months ago, worklessness was in decline. Government programmes encouraging lone parents and the long-term sick back into employment were a part of that success story. Today we can see that the recession is unravelling much of that progress."

The new data also shows the number of children in workless households now stands at around 1.9 million, up 170,000 from a year earlier.
 
Atkinson added: "The concentration of worklessness among families has serious consequences for the children within them, and this cuts directly across Government policy on child poverty."