AP Photo/Stephan Savoia
According to new research from the statistical office of the EU, Eurostat, Britain has Europe's highest rate of people living in homes where no one has a job.
At the same time, the proportion of families who consider themselves to be 'deprived' is one of the lowest in the EU.
The figures revealed that 10 per cent of the EU population aged up to 59, lived in households where the adults worked less than 20 percent of their total work potential during the past year - referred to in the report as very low work intensity households.
The United Kingdom, along with Belgium, had the highest proportion of these very low work intensity households - 13 per cent. The report showed however that the UK did not figure highly in either the income poverty or material deprivation categories.
In fact, according to the report, Britain has the highest rate of homes where no family members go to work - even than countries hit by the euro crisis - but the lowest deprivation levels, leading analysts to suggest that our welfare system is too generous to the workshy.
Despite nearly one in eight children and working age adults in the UK living in a home where no one goes out to work, fewer than one in 20 say they can't afford to pay their bills, eat properly, or go on holiday, run a car or have a colour TV or a mobile phone.
In Germany, the workless proportion of the population is 11.1 per cent, in France 9.8 per cent, and in Italy 10.2 per cent. However, in Britain only 4.8 per cent of people were classed as 'materially deprived', similar to levels in Germany which has 4.5 per cent.
This term refers to those who cannot afford to pay for four out of nine 'deprivation items'. The nine factors considered to lift a family out of the 'materially deprived' category are the ability to pay the rent or utility bills on time; to keep the house warm; to be able to pay an unexpected bill; to eat meat or fish every second day; to afford a week's holiday; to run a car; to have a washing machine; to have a colour TV and to have a mobile phone.
In France, the 'deprived' make up 5.8 per cent of the population and in Italy 6.9 per cent.
The survey comes as the Government faces opposition to its attempts to cap families benefits to a maximum income of £26,000 a year.