This issue is becoming a central political theme and is of huge importance for the type of country we will be living in. As another Neil said, "I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old".
- The idea of ‘three generations of the same family who have never worked’ appeals to many,including politicians and policy-makers, as an explanation of entrenched worklessness in the UK.
- Despite strenuous efforts, the researchers were unable to locate any such families. Even two generations of complete worklessness in the same family was a very rare phenomenon, which is consistent with recent quantitative surveys of this issue.
- Families experiencing long-term worklessness remained committed to the value of work and preferred to be in jobs rather than on benefits.
- There was no evidence of ‘a culture of worklessness’ – values, attitudes and behaviours discouraging employment and encouraging welfare dependency – in the families.
- Workless parents were keen for their children to do better than they had, and actively tried to help them find jobs. Working-age offspring remained strongly committed to conventional values about work as part of a normal transition to adulthood. They were keen to avoid the poverty, worklessness and other problems experienced by their parents.
- The long-term worklessness of parents in these families was a result of the impact of complex, multiple problems associated with living in deep poverty over years.
- Policy-makers and politicians need to abandon theories – and resulting policies – that see worklessness as primarily the outcome of a culture of worklessness, held in families and passed down the generations.