No Christmas cheer for the long-term unemployed, says TUC

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date: 21 December 2010

embargo: 00.01hrs 22 December 2010

Almost a quarter of a million people have now been on the dole for more than a year in the UK - more than twice as many as at the start of the last recession - and lots of them will be spending their second or even third successive Christmas out of work, says the TUC today (Wednesday).

The TUC analysis of official unemployment statistics reveals that more than a third of the 232 local authority areas across the UK (88 council areas) now have more than a thousand residents who have been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) for at least 12 months, compared to just 26 council areas in December 2007.

At the beginning of the last recession, at the close of 2007, 117,845 individuals had been claiming JSA for more than 12 months. Now, almost three years on in November 2010, there are 243,330 who have been struggling to find work for more than a year.

Northern Ireland has seen the sharpest increase in long-term unemployment in the past year with a 3.2 per cent increase - there are now 14,325 people who have been on the dole for at least a year, up from 9,860 since December 2009.

A table of the top 20 areas which have seen the biggest increases in long-term unemployment shows that 12 of the areas featured - including Castlereagh, Newry and Mourne and Banbridge - are in Northern Ireland.

Parts of Greater London have also been badly affected with three boroughs - Hackney, Kensington and Chelsea, and Sutton - also suffering large increases in the number of long-term JSA claimants.

Other regions of the UK affected by big increases in the numbers out of work for more than a year since last Christmas are Wales, which has seen a 2.7 per cent increase, Yorkshire and the Humber (2.5 per cent) and the South East (2.5 per cent).

Total long-term unemployment, including those who have not been claiming JSA, rose to 839,000 in October 2010, a 34 per cent increase on the year and the highest level since February 1997.

The number of unemployed people outnumbering vacancies by more than five to one across the UK - rising to around 20 to one in some employment blackspots - and the jobs crisis could get even worse in the new year, the TUC warns.

Commenting on the figures, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Across the country thousands and thousands of people have been struggling to find work - some of them for several years now - and for their families there won't be much to celebrate this Christmas.

'While many families with working adults may be tightening their belts a little this Christmas, the thousands of long-term unemployed households will be anxiously juggling their family budgets, knowing only too well that their JSA of £65.45 isn't going to buy much Christmas cheer this year.

'And with many local councils in the process of issuing redundancy notices to thousands of their employees over the coming weeks, the future for those about to lose their jobs and those who've been out of work for some time looks especially bleak.

'The government's huge cuts to public spending will see thousands of public sector workers being made redundant in the new year, and those working in the private sector could be hit just as hard.

'We hope many of the people affected will bring their families to join our demonstration against the cuts on 26 March next year to try to show ministers the damage and widespread misery the cuts are causing, and persuade them that it is not too late to change course.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Long-term dole claimant levels since Christmas 2007

Dec 2007

Dec 2008

Dec 2009

Nov 2010

Total number of people claiming JSA for at least 12 months

117,845

103,930

215,380

243,330

Increase since in Dec 2007

106 per cent

Increase since Dec 2009

13 per cent

Sharpest increases in long-term unemployment by local authority area

Local authority area

Long-term dole claimants, Dec 2009

Long-term dole claimants, Nov 2010

Increase, per cent

Castlereagh

140

280

100

Newry and Mourne

650

1,225

88

Banbridge

150

265

77

Hackney

1,215

2,100

73

Armagh

310

530

71

Cardiff

975

1,655

70

Sutton

285

465

63

Ceredigion

75

120

60

Antrim

200

310

55

Kingston upon Hull

2,465

3,820

55

Coleraine

265

410

55

North Down

280

430

54

Limavady

265

405

53

Lisburn

490

745

52

Craigavon

570

865

52

Kensington and Chelsea

535

805

50

Ballymena

240

360

50

Magherafelt

175

260

49

Scottish Borders

230

340

48

East Renfenshire

105

155

48

Source: www.nomisweb.co.uk

- The latest long-term unemployment figures can be found in table 9 of the ONS labour market statistics December 2010, available at www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/lmsuk1210.pdf

- The TUC analysis is available under embargo at www.tuc.org.uk/extras/xmasondole2010.xls

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

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

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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