London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

One in five Brits is neither in work nor looking for work—it’s chronic

One in five Brits is neither in work nor looking for work—it’s chronic

More than five million of us are completely economically inactive and claiming out-of-work benefits.
The word “permacrisis” has been added to the dictionary as a term that defines 2022 and now, to top it all, we’re officially in a recession. The bizarrely good news is, however, that unemployment, at 3.6 per cent, is at its lowest level for nearly half a century and experts predict that unlike the recession in the Eighties when unemployment soared to double digits, this time it won’t exceed five per cent.

But even this isn’t really good news. In fact, this low unemployment figure actually hides something deeply troubling. One in five Britons aged 16 to 64 now describes themselves as neither in work or looking for work. More than five million of us are completely economically inactive and claiming out-of-work benefits.

Even more worryingly, this figure is constantly rising. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has forecast a rise of 13.4 per cent in health and disability spending by 2026, which will cost the Government £7.5 billion.

The OBR said that the increase in the number and length of claims could be driven by mental illness and long Covid. A backlog of seven million people waiting for NHS treatments is certainly unhelpful. But is there something more concerning at play about people simply checking out of life, preferring never to leave the house since the pandemic? I was struck by a recent study published by French centre-Left think-tank the Jean-Jaures Foundation, which revealed a similar malaise.

French people, according to the authors, particularly the young, are struggling to find the energy to leave the house, for work or for pleasure, and can’t even be bothered to go to restaurants or the cinema. A poll they conducted found that 45 per cent of those surveyed “regularly cannot be bothered to go out”.

Respondents were asked whether certain words inspired positive or negative sentiments. “‘Rest”’ was viewed more positively than “‘effort”’ or “‘work”’ and “‘bed”’ more than “‘career”’. Back in the UK, you might think it’s mainly over-50s dropping out of the workforce, but ONS analysis showed the biggest increase in inactivity from long-term sickness was among younger people, with a staggering 42 per cent rise in the 25-34 age group and 29 per cent for the 16 to 24-year-olds.

In 2023, it’s predicted that the UK will be the only big economy in which employment is lower than before the pandemic because of all these people who have left the labour market. As they are so young, the ramifications could last for decades.

It’s bad for productivity, disastrous for the welfare budget, and this workless life isn’t even making anyone happier — use of anti-depressants has never been higher, up 22 per cent since 2015.

It’s terrible to read of so many people checking out of their own lives and all that wasted talent. Of all the lasting impacts of the pandemic, I find this one to be the saddest.
Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Russia's Electronic Warfare Neutralizes Western Weapons in Ukraine
Trump Challenges Biden to Debate and Golf Match
Macron Accuses Israeli Minister of Election Interference
US Senator Highlights Weaknesses in Western Military Industry During Ukraine Conflict
George Clooney Urges Biden to Withdraw from Presidential Race
Political Shift in the UK: A Detailed Analysis of Labour's Victory and Future Prospects
Viktor Orbán's Peace Mission: A Diplomatic Controversy in the EU
India Advocates Peace and Prosperity: PM Modi's Speech in Austria
New UK PM Keir Starmer Reaffirms Strong Support for Ukraine at NATO Summit
Spain PM Pedro Sanchez Denounces Double Standards on Gaza at NATO Summit
UK Police Arrest Suspect in Crossbow Attack After Three Women Killed
Sunita Williams Safe on ISS, to Address Earth on July 10
Biden Affirms Commitment To Presidential Race
France Faces Political Turmoil and Airport Strikes Ahead of Paris Olympics 2024
Putin Hosts PM Modi for a Private Meeting
TSMC: The Taiwanese Chip Giant Valued Over $1 Trillion
Boeing Pleads Guilty Over 737 MAX Crashes
2024 Predicted to Be World's Hottest Year
Iran's President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian Reiterates Support for Hezbollah
White House Denies Biden Being Treated for Parkinson's Disease
Biden to Meet New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer
Biden Insists on Continuing Presidential Race Amid Criticism
UK Defence Minister Pledges Enhanced Support to Ukraine
French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal Resigns After Election Setback
Macron Faces New Political Challenges Despite Election Relief
France's Far-Right Falls Short in Parliamentary Elections
Key Figures in France's Left-Wing New Popular Front Bloc
England Reaches Euro 2024 Semifinals After Penalty Shootout Win
Rishi Sunak Apologizes After Historic Tory Defeat
Voter Discontent in Recent UK and French Elections
Trump was recorded attacking Biden: "I kicked the old pile of shit"
Understanding the MRP Method in UK Elections
US Officials Resign Over Biden's Gaza Policy
First-Time Immigrant Voters Aim to Influence UK Elections 2024
Reform UK Receives Major Donations from Brexit Campaign Group
Tata Steel Strike Called Off, Paving the Way for Crucial Talks
Sir Keir Starmer's Acceptance of Substantial Gifts from UK Donors
New Zealand Introduces Law to Make Tech Giants Pay for News
NASA Astronauts Stranded in Space Due to Boeing's Starliner Issues
OpenAI and Microsoft Sued for Copyright Infringement
Starmer Vows to Renegotiate Brexit Deal Amid Far-Right Rise in France
Monster Hurricane Beryl Hits Caribbean as Category Five Storm
EU Charges Meta with Breaching Antitrust Rules
Biden's Debate Performance Unites Democrats and Republicans
Prison Officer Faces Court Over Inmate Sex Video
Jude Bellingham's Iconic Euro 2024 Goal: A Historic Moment for England
Campaigners Push for Emergency Uplift Visa for Palestinians Escaping Gaza Conflict
French Elections: Battle to Thwart Far-Right Takeover
Supreme Court Grants Trump Partial Immunity, Delays Trial
China Criticizes US Restrictions on AI Investments
×