More than one in five households in the North are entirely unemployed, new figures have revealed.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 21.2% of homes in the region don’t contain any adults who are in work and are therefore classed as workless.
This is the equivalent of 186,000 households, according to the latest figures, which were correct as of the end of last year.
No other English region has a higher rate of workless households than the North East and only Northern Ireland has a higher rate outside of England.
The proportion of homes in the in the region that are considered as workless is usually comparatively high and has actually fallen by 3.2% since 2010.
Just over half of North East households (54.7%) have all adults in employment while in 24.2% some adults are in employment while others are not.
In England as a whole , 15.2% of households contain no employed adults and are therefore classed as workless. This is a drop of 3.1% compared to 2010.
The figure has dropped from just under 3.9 million between October to December 2010 to around 3.3 million in the same quarter last year, figures which have been hailed by the Government.
Ministers said the latest figure was the lowest in a decade, adding that 372,000 fewer children were living in a household where no-one has a job.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:
“The primary aim of our welfare reforms has been to support everyone who is able to work into jobs.
“To give people the skills as well as the opportunities to be part of the economic recovery. And we’ve seen remarkable success – with an average of 1,000 more people in work for every single day that this Government has been in power. In total, 1.9 million more people with the self-esteem and financial security that a job brings.
> Low pay, short hours or zero hours contracts do not equal financial security, and I would guess they do little to generate self-esteem either.
Not to mention the fact that twice as much is spent on in-work benefits (ie: to boost low wages) than on unemployment.
And the little matter of many of those hard-working families so beloved of politicians having to access food banks in order to survive.
“Today’s figures reveal that the number of workless households has fallen by over 600,000 under this Government.
“Most significantly, there are 272,000 fewer households living in social housing without work, and the proportion in social housing where someone does now work with a breadwinner and a role model, is the highest since records began.
“Behind these figures are countless stories of hard work and determination. By sticking to our long-term economic plan our welfare reforms are transforming the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities.”
> Well, that’s true, at least. But transforming lives for the worse wasn’t really what we had in mind…
Source – Sunday Sun, 29 Mar 2015
A charity is urging the Government to take urgent action to help more than 250,000 households in the North-East and many more across the UK living in fuel poverty.
National Energy Action (NEA) estimates 276,782 households in the North-East are unable to heat their home to a comfortable and healthy level – 8.9 per cent of the population.
In Yorkshire and the Humber this figure stands at 244,850 – 10.9 per cent of the population.
Last year, 1,710 of the 5,700 excess winter deaths across both regions were attributed to cold homes.
And NEA claims one person dies every five minutes due to the “UK cold homes crisis,” with an estimated 4.5 million British homes affected.
Research has revealed many vulnerable people are forced to choose between eating properly and heating their homes due to soaring energy prices and dwindling incomes.
In response, NEA has joined forces with other charities, local authorities, health agencies, community groups, MPs and energy efficiency installers and manufacturers, to urge the Government to take action.
Its Warm Home Campaign calls on the Government to provide automatic energy discounts and targeted energy efficient measures to low income families and vulnerable people in hard to heat homes.
Phil Wilson, Labour MP for Sedgefield, County Durham, has backed the campaign.
In his constituency, an estimated 3,756 households are living in fuel poverty.
“It is devastating and something needs to be done – people’s lives are at risk,” he said.
“Having a warm home is something many of us can take for granted and it is important we raise awareness of the full extent of the problem.
Maria Wardrobe, director of external affairs at NEA, said:
“The Prime Minister, ministers and MPs have been forewarned that local health services will not be able to cope this winter with cold-related hospital admissions and repeat GP visits.
“The NHS is currently bearing a yearly burden of £1.5bn treating cold related illnesses and 10,000 lives could have been saved last year alone.
“In the longer term we need an ambitious fuel poverty strategy that prioritises the improvement of energy efficiency in low-income households.”
For more information about the campaign or to make a donation to NEA visit nea.org.uk
Source – Northern Echo, 01 Jan 2015
> I think it’s worth adding a comment made – by workingagepoor – to the above item…
I am not the only one but I cannot afford to heat my home exccept for very short periods of time. No amount of energy efficiency or other measures alter this fact.
Safety messages such as keep one room in your house are meaningless if you cannot afford to turn your heating on.
The temperature in my house is often below that which we are told places a person at risk of hypothermia.
Each slight percentage fall in my income makes this situation worse. Poor people don’t know how to cook, are feckless, scrounge benefits, work will make you better off are the messages that today’s politicians send us.
I can survive, I will fight but when will people wake up and start seeing what is being done to those at the lower end of society.
Meanwhile whilst people sit in their cold homes that have been made colder by austerity measures placed upon them so that they pay for the deficit brought on by greed and corruption by politicians and financiers who protect their own wealth by inflicting hardship upon others.
Bombs are being dropped on people of another nation in yet another conflict at great expense. These people and others that we have inflicted pain and misery upon are also fighting back. Politicians cannot realise that ultimately all of this cruelty comes back to them.
Pause to consider what we are becoming. Do not commemorate wars that killed millions. Stop being blinkered. Don’t think of how you yourself can be better off. Help those less fortunate than yourself.
Peace and kindness will bring more warmth to a person than any amount of heating. I have a roof over my head for which I am grateful but I do not want to be a part of a system that destroys the homes, children and lives of others.
The average North East family is just over two weeks from the breadline, according a shocking report.
Statistics from the latest Deadline to the Breadline report show a bleak outlook for many households in the region.
The figures reveal that the average family will rely upon state benefits and friends and family for financial support – just 16 days after losing their income.
The figures from, compiled by financial services Legal & General, has increased by five days since the previous report was carried out in February.
Last night experts said that despite seeing a “heartening” improvement the report exposed the harsh realities of many households.
Mark Holweger, managing director at Legal & General, said:
“While it’s heartening to see an improvement in the financial situation of North East households, this fourth edition of our Deadline to the Breadline report exposes the harsh reality that many households in this region are on the brink and just weeks away from becoming reliant upon family, friends or the state.
“Despite improvements in the employment market, the fact remains that the average family in the North East is just over two weeks away from the breadline.”
Experts put the improvement down to an increase in savings levels, particularly among those aged between 18 to 24.
Nationally, the firm say that rock-bottom interest rates and falling real incomes have meant that households are saving £8.12 less per month on average in 2014 compared with last year.
More than a third of the country don’t have any savings, which could see a significant number of people on the breadline tomorrow, according to the report.
The figures also found that a 2% increase in mortgage interest rates would move the typical household with a mortgage one day closer to the breadline.
Even a 1% rise would mean households would no longer be able to save each month and would have to change their spending habits, or rely on existing savings, to make ends meet.
Other key findings found that the average UK household is 29 days from the breadline but the figure dropped to 14 days for those of working age.
Mr Holweger added:
“With new economic headwinds approaching and an interest rate rise on the horizon, now is not the time to be burying our heads in the sand.
“Talk of the economic recovery and an increase in consumer confidence could lead many people to revert back to their old habits when now really is the time to think about protecting their future.”
> Future ? What future ? Years more cuts and austerity ?
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 17 Dec 2014
The number of households that North East councils prevented from becoming homeless has rocketed in parts of the region.
In South Tyneside the local authority stepped in on 3,208 occasions in the last 12 months, a 123% rise on the 1,437 figure for the previous year.
This works out at a rate of 47.07 per 1,000 households in the borough, almost five times the national average of 10.11.
Meanwhile, in the same period, Gateshead saw a 65% increase from 2,094 to 3,453, an average of 38.28 per 1,000 households.
Newcastle City Council numbers rose 23% from 3,673 to 4,529, which works at 37.89 per 1,000 households.
There was also a small rise in Northumberland and Durham, but falls in North Tyneside and Sunderland.
Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government show preventions and relief in England rose nationally on average 12% from 202,900 to 227,800 between 2012/13 and 2013/14.
Prevention includes things like resolving problems with housing benefit, advice on debt or rent and mortgage arrears, or mediating with families to stop family members being kicked out.
Relief is when a council has been unable to prevent homelessness but helps someone to secure accommodation, even though the local authority is under no statutory obligation to do so.
Coun Allan West, Lead Member for Housing and Transport on South Tyneside Council, said the figure revealed how a policy initiative it took last year was working.
He said: “In 2013, South Tyneside Council’s Place Committee undertook a Commission scrutinising how homelessness in the Borough was tackled and how well the Council was equipped to deal with future demand.
“This led to the development of our new homelessness strategy which made homeless prevention one of our key priorities.
“This is reflected in our updated allocations policy, which gives priority to people at risk of becoming homeless before their case becomes critical.
“We have introduced a Homelessness Forum with representation from key partners including landlords, Public Health and the third sector.
“The forum ensures a collaborative partnership approach to tackling homelessness, sharing good practice and maximising opportunities for early intervention and prevention for homeless households.
“The review established a post of ‘Homelessness Prevention Lead’ within the Council to continue to develop housing and support options for people at risk of homelessness.”
My life on the streets of Tyneside – by homeless man ‘Carl’
Graduate ‘Carl’ has been homeless, on and off, for 16 years now.
He came to the region from Berkshire to study politics and economics at Newcastle University.
By the time he graduated aged 23 with a 2:1, he was in a secure unit at St Nicholas’ Hospital where he was being treated for Bipolar Disorder.
“They let me out for the day for my graduation ceremony and that night when the other students were out having a drink celebrating I was back in the unit pumped up with drugs,” he said.
He describes himself as a ‘hand tapper’, someone who walks the streets asking for money, making anywhere between £25 and £100 a day.
“The beggars are the ones who put signs around their necks and wait for people to come to them,” he said.
Carl said at the moment he sleeps rough in a city centre car park. “It’s best to sleep somewhere with CCTV as it gives you a feeling of security that someone might see if you’re in trouble and help.”
Over the years he has ‘sofa surfed’ with friends, and stayed in hostels, but nowhere permanent for long.
The money he makes he spends on food, tobacco and drink.
“I don’t drink that much,” he says.
He was a heroin user for six to eight years but has been ‘clean’ since June.
Carl is currently taking heroin-substitute buprenorphine, its trade name is Subutex.
“It’s better than methadone, like Peaches Geldof was taking. You can take other drugs as well as Methadone but not with Subutex.
“You’re supposed to crush it and place it under your tongue. I crush it and snort it like snuff.”
However he added: “I’ll probably have a relapse soon.”
His condition means he’s hyperactive.
“I walk the streets all day. Sometimes I don’t sleep.
“It’s OK at the moment with the hot weather. When its cold you keep moving or you die of hypothermia.
“People in the North east are friendlier than down south so I don’t get much grief.”
He says he stays in touch with family down south. His father is the Governor at a primary school, his three sisters and brothers hold down full time jobs.
“Some of us are just different. I’ve had a few jobs but I’m just not reliable.
“Also, my specialism is international politics and economics. I can’t see many employers in that field offering me a job.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 25 July 2014
Some of Britain’s poorest households are finding it increasingly more difficult to cover the costs of funerals, according to a report by the University of Bath .
The average cost of a funeral, including administration and burial or cremation, has increased by 80% since 2004 and now stands at an eye-watering £7,622.
Poorer households can obtain help from the Funeral Social Fund, but according to the report low-income families and those on benefits face an average shortfall of £1,227, which raises questions about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) funeral payment scheme.
Despite vast improvements in healthcare and people living longer, we all have to meet our maker one day, but for some of Britain’s poorest households dying is swiftly becoming an inevitable end of life event which could leave their loved ones with a very hefty bill.
Dr Kate Woodthorpe from Bath University’s Centre for Death and Society, told the Daily Mirror:
“As a result people are living longer, which requires larger incomes and pension pots to ensure these extra years can be afforded.
“At the same time, the younger generations have less ready cash to call on, so they cannot necessarily be relied on to pick up the bill either.
“We know that the long-term decline in death rates is about to reverse, with a projected rise in the number of deaths around 15 to 20% in the next two decades.
“We also know that right now, with some of the lowest death rates ever recorded, the safety nets provided by the state via the Social Fund Funeral Payment and local authority public health funerals are under pressure.
“Their sustainability into the future is debatable.”
A spokesperson for the DWP also told the Daily Mirror: “The Funeral Payment scheme continues to cover the necessary costs of burial or cremation in full, because we know that these costs may vary widely across the country.
“A significant contribution is also made towards the fee levied by funeral directors which is currently set at £700.”
Source – Welfare News Service, 21 Jan 2014