Upstairs, downstairs Britain; One in seven Brits hire domestic help

1st July 2011

  • A quarter (24 per cent) do so because they simply 'don't like chores'
  • Hired helped is the new status symbol for middle England

Prince William and Kate Middleton may have put their plans to recruit servants on hold, but hiring domestic help appears to have withstood the test of the economic downturn for much of the UK as six million (12 per cent) Britons admit to paying for cleaners, gardeners, handymen and other forms of domestic help*.

New research from Churchill Home Insurance reveals that despite the challenging economic climate, hired help is no longer confined to the nostalgic world of Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey.

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of those who pay for domestic help admit to doing so because they simply "don't like doing domestic chores". For others it's a question of convenience, as almost a third (31 per cent) employ domestic help because they don't have time to complete the tasks themselves, rising to nearly half (48 per cent) for those aged 18-34.

According to the research, one of the most sought-after domestic workers are cleaners, employed by around 2.5 million people in the UK, which accounts for around a third of all hired help. Nearly a third (64 per cent) of these Brits employs their cleaner to come in at least once a week. Gardeners are equally as popular, and are also employed by 2.5 million Brits who are reluctant to get their hands dirty.

With more and more parents returning to the rat race within a year of having children, nannies, once the preserve of the upper classes, have now become an integral member of the family for around 500,000 parents.

Perhaps reflecting a reluctance or inability to complete many basic household tasks, the research also reveals that around one million Britons currently employ a handyman to carry out basic DIY tasks, whilst a further 500,000 admit to hiring someone to help out with laundry and ironing.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: "Even in these difficult times, house-proud Britons are finding the extra cash to help keep their homes pristine. With millions of people working long hours, employing domestic help is increasingly seen as a necessity to ensure a good work-life balance."

It's important that people who hire domestic help have insurance in place in case of any accidents on their property. Churchill Home Contents Insurance will provide cover for any costs which you become legally responsible for if a domestic employee is injured or falls ill while working for you

For further information please contact:

Ewan Robertson/Katie Pugh
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 0207 282 2981 / 0207 2822914
Email: /

Vicky Bristow
Churchill Insurance
0208 313 5741

Notes to editors:

  • *Opinium Omnibus interviewed a random sample of 2,030 adults aged 18+ via online omnibus for Churchill Home Insurance. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.


Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK’s leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200300 or visiting