Issue date
06 Oct 2015

6 October 2015

New figures published today (Tuesday) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on the reduction in workless households since 1996 are evidence of the success of tax credits, says the TUC.

The ONS figures show that the proportion of households without work has fallen from 20.9 per cent in 1996 to 15.8 per cent in 2015.

Even more dramatic is the fall in the proportion of children living in workless households, which was 19.8 per cent in 1996 and is 11.8 per cent in 2015.

Significant reductions were achieved between 1996 and 2008. Progress went into reverse after 2008 following the financial crisis and subsequent recession. However, progress resumed again after the recession and has continued to date.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The proportion of children in workless households has almost halved since 1996. This tells you all you need to know about the incredible success of tax credits in making work pay and supporting childcare costs. And it should act as a warning to the Prime Minister and Chancellor not to rush ahead with severe cuts to tax credits that would put work incentives at risk.”


- The full ONS release Working and workless households, 2015, which presents times series from1996 to 2015, can be found at

- All TUC press releases can be found at

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