There are nearly 300,000 people in the North West who can’t work due to long-term sickness but at least a quarter of these want to work and could do with the right help.
Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, said, “These figures show that people in Rochdale, and across the North West, would be working if they had the right support in place.
“Not only would that help raise their incomes and living standards, it would benefit the economy too.
“Labour in government would give more power and flexibility to local areas to run employment support services and ensure Jobcentres will be able to provide targeted, specialist help.”
Official statistics show that 26% of people out of the workforce because of sickness want a job in the North West. Since the pandemic, there has been an especially sharp uptick in economic inactivity amongst workers aged over 50.
Labour research finds that there are 19,600 more 50-64-year-olds in the North West who are economically inactive because of long-term sickness than there were before the pandemic. This amounts to a substantial 13% increase in older people outside the workforce because of ill health.
High levels of sick workers leaving the workforce have come alongside increases in the numbers relying on means-tested disability and health-related benefits in the North West.
Labour analysis shows that there are 50,004 more recipients of means-tested disability and health-related benefits in the North West than there were before the pandemic. Labour has called on the Government to take urgent action to help over-50s and the long-term sick back to work.
In recently announced plans, Labour has committed to transforming Jobcentres and employment support services. Budgets will be devolved to local areas that know their local jobs and skills needs best, and tailored support will be offered to the unemployed and inactive people who want help – with services available to a wider group of people than just those receiving unemployment benefits.
Labour will also look to expand employment programmes targeted at people with ill health, including those delivered via the NHS.
Notes to editors:
- Statistics on the number of people in the North West who are economically inactive citing long-term sickness as the main reason – and the number of these who want a job – comes from the “Annual population survey – regional – economic inactivity by reasons” dataset, available via ONS’s Nomis website. ‘Pre-pandemic’ figures count the number of people in the year up to December 2019; ‘post-pandemic’ figures count the number of people in the year up to June 2022. The latest data was released on 11th October 2022, available at: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/datasets/aps181
- The most recent ONS statistics on economic inactivity by reason report that 2,455,380 people were economically inactive because of long-term sickness in August-October 2022. 564,125 of these people want a job; this amounts to 23% of long-term sick economically inactive people wanting a job. The latest data was released on 13th December 2022, available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/economicinactivity/datasets/economicinactivitybyreasonseasonallyadjustedinac01sa
- The estimate for means-tested disability and health-related benefit recipients is derived from the difference between the pre- and post-pandemic increase in households receiving Universal Credit with a ‘limited capability for work’ element and the decrease in caseload for income-based Employment and Support Allowance. A household cannot be receiving both UC and income-based ESA at the same time.
- There are 77,493 more households receiving Universal Credit with a ‘limited capability for work’ element in August 2022 (the latest month for which data is available) than there were in February 2020 in the North West. Source: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/login.xhtml
- There are 27,489 fewer people receiving income-based Employment and Support Allowance in May 2022 (the latest month for which data is available) than there were in February 2020 the North West. Source: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/login.xhtml