By politics.co.uk staff
The number of households in which no-one has ever worked nearly doubled between 1997 and 2010, new figures show.
A report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 1.7% of all households were permanently jobless by the second quarter of 2010 - up from one per cent in the second quarter of 1997.
There are major discrepancies between regions, with just 0.5% of households in the east of England jobless, compared to 6.5% in inner London.
"These figures show the appalling inheritance we received from the last Labour government," work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith commented.
"They should be ashamed of their failure to tackle the root causes of entrenched worklessness and benefit dependency which has meant that millions of children are now growing up in households where no-one has ever worked."
The total number of households without employment has now reached a total of 352,000, the ONS said.
Its Social Trends report noted some signs of progress, however. The gap in employment rate between women with and without dependent children narrowed in the last 15 years.
The overall employment rate for women now stands at 66%, compared to just 53% in 1971. But it has fallen from its overall peak of 67% in 2006.