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Saturday 26th of December 2009
December 23, 2009    

TUC: Official figures show long-term unemployment soars

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by Kay Murchie

According to the TUC, the number of people spending their second consecutive Christmas claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has almost doubled.

Using their calculations from official claimant count data, figures show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s allowance for more than a year rose to 201,015 in November 2009, from 103,930 in December 2008.

Furthermore, the TUC said almost 60 local authorities now have more than 1,000 long-term claimants, compared with 19 a year ago.

As a result of the figures, the trade union is calling on the Government to extend its job guarantee for young people to everyone who has been unemployed for 18 months.

Commenting on the data, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The festive period is an expensive time of year and the 200,000 people spending their second Christmas on the dole face even greater financial hardship.

“While millions of working families are enjoying their Christmas food and presents together, those reliant on JSA will struggle to afford much Christmas cheer. Every job loss is a human tragedy, but when people are out of work for over a year they risk being permanently scarred by joblessness,” he added.

“Government investment has kept unemployment well below the levels reached in previous recessions, but there can be no room for complacency. The government should extend its job guarantee for young people to anyone out of work for 18 months to stop people getting mired in semi-permanent joblessness.”

Last week, the Office for National Statistics revealed that UK unemployment rose by 21,000 in the three months to October to 2.491 million, taking the unemployment rate to 7.9% - a 13-year high.

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