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Working families receiving benefits

What is this report about?
Deafened by the interminable call for reforms to ‘make work pay’, it is easy to forget that plenty of families receiving state benefits of various kinds are already working. The purpose of this report is to resist this forgetfulness by providing an estimate of the total number of working families who get such benefits. The complication (which is why a report is needed and why its results are only estimates) is that simply adding up government statistics on the numbers receiving each benefit in isolation won’t do because that would double count all those who receive more than one.

‘Working families’
Although the definition of ‘working’ varies a bit between the different data sources used for the report, the common sense idea – that at least one of the adults in the family is doing paid work – is a good enough approximation. The term ‘family’ includes single adults and couples as well as parents with children. But a child who has left school, even if they are still living at home, doesn’t count as part of the parental family but is, instead, another ‘family’ in their own right.