UK employment rates benefit women and older workers

The UK would have four million fewer people in work if it had the same average employment rate as the European Union, according to minister for work Jane Kennedy.

Kennedy, Jane-MP2.jpg

Speaking at the Work Foundation seminar, Tackling Worklessness – Delivering Employment Opportunity for All in London, Kennedy said two million fewer women would have jobs and more than a million people over the age of 55 would be workless if the UK’s employment rate was the same as the average EU rate.

While the rest of the EU still faced a significant challenge to meet employment targets set in Lisbon in 2000, the UK had already achieved and exceeded these and was now aiming way beyond them with its aspirational target of an 80 per cent employment rate, she added.

Kennedy (pictured above) said the success had come from changing the former passivity of the welfare state – where finding a job or claiming benefits were “accidental happenings in the lives of workless people” – into active engagement based on rights to financial support balanced by responsibilities to look for work.


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