Lazy Britain MAPPED: The areas where the most people have shunned employment
Summer is over and school is back in session – it’s back to work time for many, but not for all.
Just over a fifth of the working-age population remains classed as economically inactive – neither in nor looking for a job.
Rates rose across the G7 after lockdown restrictions were eased, but while this has mostly been reversed overseas, it remains a persistent drag on the UK’s economic output.
According to the World Values Survey, Brits are far less enthusiastic about work than any other country among two dozen peers.
Rates vary significantly across the UK, however. Express.co.uk has mapped the proportion of people who have dropped out of the workforce across all local authorities.
READ MORE: ‘I quit my dream job to work at McDonald’s because I get paid more’
In more precise terms, the economically inactive are people not in employment who “have not been seeking work within the last 4 weeks and/or are unable to start work within the next 2 weeks” according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Between April and June 2023, roughly 8.69 million UK residents were found to fit that description.
People can become economically inactive for a variety of reasons. Over two million are students in higher education, while more people than ever are also opting for early retirement.
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The category counted just over 9.5 million people back in 2011, then fell sharply over the following decade.
The pandemic threw this trend into reverse. Between January 2020 and July 2022, numbers lept up by 500,000.
During this time, long-time sickness soared to become the most common reason for dropping out of the workforce – going from 23 percent at the start of 2019 to 28 percent in 2023.
The overall rate was found to be highest of all in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, at 34.3 percent. This was followed by Chichester (33.9 percent), East Lindsey (33.4 percent) and Wyre (32.2 percent).
The tally has fallen by some 300,000 since mid-last year – in part as a result of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s mission to tackle the issue to fuel economic growth – but a new survey has revealed Brits are less keen on work than most.
The World Values Survey by King’s College London’s Policy Institute found that just 73 percent of people in the UK said work was “very or rather important in their life” – the lowest share of all 24 countries in the study.
The proportion was similar to that in Russia (75 percent) and Canada (74 percent), but far below the rate of Italy and Spain (96 percent) and France (94 percent).
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