Over 400,000 people will spend their second Christmas in a row on the dole

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date: 18 December 2012

embargo: 00.01hrs Thursday 20 December 2012

Over 400,000 people are set to spend their second successive Christmas on the dole according to TUC research published today (Thursday).

TUC analysis of official unemployment figures shows that mass long-term unemployment - where a local area has over 1,000 people that have been on the dole for at least a year - is no longer limited to a few employment blackspots.

Last month, 149 of the 232 local authority areas across the UK (nearly two thirds of all authority areas) had at least 1,000 long-term dole claimants. In London, 27 of its 33 boroughs have over 1,000 people set to spend their second Christmas in a row on the dole.

While overall unemployment has been falling steadily in recent months, long-term unemployment has continued to rise. Over one in three (35.8 per cent) people currently unemployed have been out of work for at least a year, the highest proportion since May 1997.

The TUC wants the government to do more to tackle long-term unemployment. Over a quarter of a million 16-24 year-olds have been out of work for at least a year, which can have a terrible scarring effect on their careers.

The TUC has serious concerns about the adequacy of the Work Programme, which is poorly funded and is failing to get people back into work. Recent figures found that just 3.5 per cent of people referred onto the Work Programme were able to find a job for a decent length of time.

The government's decision to cut resources for employment support has contributed to rising long-term unemployment at a time when the rest of the labour market is improving, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'While the recent fall in unemployment has brought some seasonal cheer, it's very concerning that 400,000 people are set to spend their second successive Christmas on the dole, with many more out of work and unable to claim.

'There is never a good time to be out of work but it's particularly tough at Christmas when there is a lot of pressure to buy presents for the kids and big family reunions that add to food and transport costs.

'These long periods of unemployment not only carry a harsh financial penalty, they can knock people's confidence and cause permanent damage to their career.

'With the proportion of unemployed people out of work for at 12 months at a 15-year high, the government should make tackling long-term unemployment a top priority. And yet one of its first decisions was to scrap the Future Jobs Fund and replace it with the under-resourced and under-performing Work Programme.

'We need to see more investment in getting people back to work so that fewer people have to spend their next Christmas on the dole again.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

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

Region

November 2012

North East

29,380

North West

52,195

Yorkshire and The Humber

47,375

East Midlands

27,530

West Midlands

48,060

East

29,145

London

64,785

South East

32,295

South West

20,305

Wales

20,850

Scotland

38,030

Northern Ireland

16,265

UK

426,215

Source: nomisweb

- It is not possible to compare current long-term claimant levels with previous years due to changes in the classification of people on the Flexible new Deal and Future Jobs Fund, and those currently on the Work Programme.

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

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

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
Alex Rossiter T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07887 572130 E: arossiter@tuc.org.uk

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