Abstracts: September 8th, 2008

This report from the Department of Work and Pensions provides reasons to explain the relatively high levels of worklessness apparent within the social rented sector.

The research revealed characteristics which lead to the weak competitive position of many social tenants in the labour market. They include health issues, childcare responsibilities, debt, drug and alcohol dependence, criminal records and multiple disadvantage.

These problems shut off particular types of work and also affect general employability. Most of these barriers represented personal difficulties faced by the respondents themselves but there were also some ill health and drug dependence cases where the problem was being experienced by another member of the household or wider family.

The impact of multiple barriers leads to particular difficulties. Each disadvantage added extra burdens and brought a corresponding reduction in a persons’ competitive position in the labour market.

The complexity of the tax and benefits system may also act as a work disincentive. It was clear that many had not got to grips with the complex interaction between earnings, tax credits and Housing Benefit.

The report is available from the DWP. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2007-2008/rrep521.pdf