Families Who Haven't Worked for Generations; Dame Carol Black: Warning

Article excerpt

Byline: Olinka Koster

THOUSANDS of children are growing up in families where their parents andgrandparents have never worked.

A senior Government adviser warned yesterday how this was creating a 'terriblelegacy' of youngsters who had no expectation they would ever get a job.

Dame Carol Black said: 'We have got places where there are three generations ofmen who have never worked.

'If your grandfather never worked and your father never worked, why would youthink work is the normal thing to do? 'I think it is an awful thing to inflicton a child. I worry about what this does to the fabric of our society, letalone the economy.' Dame Carol, the National Director of Health and Work, hasbeen charged with investigating the incapacity benefit system.

Nearly 3million Britons currently claim long-term incapacity benefit, and onein five children is growing up in a family where one or both parents rely onout-of-work benefits.

Despite Government claims that it has eradicated youth unemployment, figuresshowed that there are 1.24million 'Neets' in the country - youngsters agedbetween 16 and 24 who are not working, in education or on a training course.

The number of Neets has risen by 15 per cent since Labour came to power in1997.

Dame Carol said: 'There are too many people with no expectation that theirlives are going to get better, no structure, no shape. I worry about the waythese patterns will be replicated, whether it is about young single motherswhose children don't understand the role of work, or about truant childrenbecoming more likely to be workless when they reach adulthood.' The report,which will be published this week, is expected to find that psychiatricdisorders in children aged between five and 15 are five times more common infamilies where the parents have never worked, compared with those where theparents have professional jobs. …