We can work it out: parental employment in London

November 2012

Child poverty in London is mostly explained by the low rates of parents in paid employment. In London, 17.2 per cent of children live in workless households, compared with 15.1 per cent in the UK as a whole; over half of lone parents in London are out of work, compared with 38 per cent in the UK. But this report shows that low parental employment rates in London are not an intractable problem. Many more parents in London have moved into work in recent years, and many more could do so if this were made a priority for local, regional and central government.

Improving rates of parental employment in London is often seen as too difficult. London’s complex labour market, its high levels of disadvantage and high costs are all cited as reasons why parental worklessness, and the resulting child poverty, is an issue that may be too hard for policy to deal with. This report aims to challenge this position, drawing on the views of a range of experts to demonstrate that progress can be made to help more parents in London access employment, and laying out the policy options for those in central, regional and local government who are committed to this goal.