Hard Work: parental employment in London

September 2015

Hard Work looks at what is happening with parental employment in London. It finds that mothers in couples in London are significantly less likely to be working than their counterparts elsewhere. While employment rates amongst lone parents has risen significantly over recent years and looks set to catch up to the national rate, the gap between the UK and London for mothers in couples shows no sign of decreasing.

The report also includes new analysis of Housing Benefit data which suggests that the traditional relationship between paid work and reduced poverty may be breaking down. Since 2011, despite a large fall in children in workless families, the number of working families assessed to be struggling with housing costs in London has increased significantly for both lone parents and for couples with children.

The report suggests that a ‘toxic combination’ of the capital’s high housing, childcare and travel costs, low pay and increasingly inadequate social security support for the low paid means that work is not a route out of poverty for many families.

London currently has the UK’s highest child poverty rate at 37%, with more poor children living in London than in Scotland and Wales combined.

The report draws significantly on analysis of parental employment trends in London completed by Hannah Aldridge at NPI and Declan Gaffney. Both documents can be downloaded on the right.