Nearly 300,000 people set to spend their second successive Christmas on the dole

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date: 19 December 2011

embargo: 00.01hrs Wednesday 21 December 2011

The number of dole claimants who have been out of work for at least a year has increased by 35,000 since last year, with over a quarter of a million people set to spend their second successive Christmas on the dole, according to a new TUC analysis of official statistics published today (Wednesday).

The number of long-term dole claimants over the Christmas period has more than doubled from 122,000 in 2007 to 279,000 today. Last Christmas, 243,000 people had been out of work for at least a year.

Scotland (+28 per cent) and London (+24 per cent) have had the sharpest increase in long-term dole claimants since last year. Eight of the ten local authorities with the fastest increase in long-term claimants are in Scotland.

Hounslow has experienced the sharpest increase in the UK, with the number of people in the London borough set to spend another Christmas on the dole more than doubling to over 500.

The TUC analysis shows that rising long-term unemployment is a problem throughout the country. In the last Christmas before the recession, 29 local authorities had at least 1,000 people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) for at least a year. This figure rose to 88 local authorities last year and now 105 local authorities have over 1,000 long-term dole claimants, including 14 who have at least 3,000 people who been claiming JSA for at least a year.

The number of people spending their third successive Christmas on the dole has also increased by a third on last year, with 75,000 people currently on JSA for at least two years.

The TUC is particularly concerned about rising long-term unemployment as it can permanently scar people's career prospects and negatively affect their health. It believes that the government should prioritise providing tailored and well-funded support to help people back into training and work, rather than simply branding them as scroungers.

With unemployment rising and wages having fallen in real terms throughout the year, it's not just those surviving on unemployment benefit who are set to face a tough Christmas this year, says the TUC. Millions of working families surviving on low wages are also set for a tough time.

The TUC is calling on employers to do their bit to end the poverty pay that contributes to over two million children in working households living in poverty, and for the government to prioritise tackling the UK's jobs crisis.

Falling living standards has been the main cause of the flatlining of economic growth this year, says the TUC, and the government's austerity measures are playing a key part in tightening this squeeze.

Wage-led growth, fuelled by decent pay rises and new high quality jobs, is the only way to achieve a sustainable economic recovery and the government must make this its top priority in the new year, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'As people gear up for the festive break, there won't be much cheer for the quarter of a million people who are spending their second successive Christmas on the dole.

'The shocking rise in long-term unemployment is not just a personal tragedy for the families and friends of those unable to find jobs, it can affect entire communities and carries a huge economic cost.

'What's most concerning is that as the dole queues mount, the government's response has been to brand many of those struggling for work as scroungers.

'The TUC is calling on ministers to make a fresh start in 2012 and focus on tackling our mounting jobs crisis. The UK - one of the richest countries on the world - must not have the shame of millions of its own citizens facing poverty at Christmas with little or no pay.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- The full TUC data analysis is available at www.tuc.org.uk/christmasonthedole2011

Number of people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance for at least 12 months by region

Region

Nov 2007

Nov 2010

Nov 2011

Increase 2007-11

Increase 2010-11

Increase 2007-11 (per cent)

Increase 2010-11 (per cent)

East

8,760

17,085

19,835

11,075

2,750

126

16

East Midlands

7,620

17,035

17,535

9,915

500

130

3

London

24,220

36,705

45,450

21,230

8,745

88

24

North East

6,925

11,880

14,150

7,225

2,270

104

19

North West

14,635

28,070

33,645

19,010

5,575

130

20

Northern Ireland

4,560

14,325

14,545

9,985

220

219

2

Scotland

9,745

20,470

26,270

16,525

5,800

170

28

South East

8,745

20,825

21,610

12,865

785

147

4

South West

4,405

9,375

10,785

6,380

1,410

145

15

Wales

4,490

11,970

12,540

8,050

570

179

5

West Midlands

18,660

31,240

33,940

15,280

2,700

82

9

Yorkshire and The Humber

10,130

24,355

28,305

18,175

3,950

179

16

UK

122,900

243,330

278,600

155,700

35,270

127

14

Fastest increases in long-term unemployment by local authority, 2010-11

Local authority

Nov-07

Nov-10

Nov-11

Increase, 2010-11 ( per cent)

Hounslow

245

210

550

162

Inverclyde

235

190

355

87

Stirling

120

185

345

86

Blackburn with Darwen

200

285

530

86

Aberdeenshire

135

155

285

84

Dundee City

485

595

1,085

82

Falkirk

280

555

1,000

80

Clackmannanshire

100

235

420

79

West Dunbartonshire

275

425

755

78

Aberdeen City

170

300

515

72

Source: nomisweb

- According to the latest government figures, 2.2million children from working households are in poverty, in addition to the 1.6million children from workless households. Child poverty is defined as having a household income 60 per cent below median income after housing costs. http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hbai/hbai2010/index.php?page=chapters

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: egibson@tuc.org.uk

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