Union leaders have complained of a “distinct lack of jobs” in the UK, highlighting figures showing that the number of long term unemployed has doubled since before the recession.
The TUC said almost 250,000 people in England, Scotland and Wales had been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for at least a year, twice as many as at the start of 2008.
Ahead of new unemployment figures, the TUC said the increase in long-term unemployment was caused by hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost during the recession and insufficient new ones being created.
The union organisation warned that the position was likely to get worse as jobs were lost due to the Government’s spending cuts, which some experts believe could put an extra million people on the dole.
Birmingham had the highest number of long-term unemployed claimants at 12,475, a 42% increase since January 2008, while in Glasgow the figure has increased by 121% to 5,545, and in Liverpool there were 4,760 people claiming JSA who have not worked for more than a year, a rise of almost a third, said the TUC.
By the wider International Labour Organisation measure of unemployment, which includes people not eligible for benefit, there were currently 811,000 people facing long-term unemployment, an increase of 110% since the start of the recession.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “The UK has 2.5 million people out of work, not because we’re a nation of workshy scroungers without a work ethic, but because with an average five unemployed people chasing every vacancy, there is a distinct lack of jobs.
“The number of people who have been out of work for a year or longer has more than doubled since January 2008. Unemployed people are the victims here, not the villains.
“The Government should stop blaming unemployed people for their predicament and start creating rather than cutting jobs.”