It comes as a bit of a shock, that London, the greatest city in the world, has nearly a quarter of homes, 23.9 per cent, where none of those living there admitted to having employment or an earned income.
But should we really be surprised? The analysis from the Office for National Statistics apparently shows that In the North-East, 19.4 per cent of homes, nearly one in five, are reckoned workless and in North-West the figure is 18.2 per cent.
Overall, the trends in the employment and unemployment rates appear to be falling, which is good. There has been a further national fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance benefit. In Thanet, down this month, the good news is 2,331 registered unemployed (down 116); the official figure (ONS)is roughly comparable with more deprived parts of London but overall, this still gives a national figure of three million adults or one in five of the population in households in which nobody works for a living, despite the £billions thrown at different employment schemes and incentives over the last decade.
And the problem, linked in part to social breakdown, appears to be steadily worsening, with tens of thousands of service jobs that once used to go to one group, now visibly going to better qualified and often more enthusiastic new arrivals from the European Union. This week, I could see this at Butlins in Skegness and the effect is starkly visible in every fast food, cafe, restaurant, hotel and service sector job in London. The desparately under-employed are steadily becoming the unemployable and when does the real pain start to appear for both the economy and broader society in subsidising the welfare bill at a time when we can't even afford decent equipment for our armed forces?
Gordon Brown's 'honeymoon' will be over soon and Tony Blair must be laughing all the way to his publisher's office, as all the really big problems of the economy, housing and a dysfunctional society start to place our new Prime Minister under pressure to find real practical solutions instead of political slogans.