Long-term Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants to double this Christmas

The number of unemployed people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for more than 12 months will double to 200,000 this year, according to the TUC.

An analysis of labour market data has shown that the number of people claiming the benefit for more than a year has increased from 103,930 in December 2008 to 201,015 in November 2009.

Nearly 60 local authority areas have more than 1,000 long-term JSA claimants, compared to just 19 in December 2008. The number of JSA claimants has more than doubled in 267 local authority areas across the UK, with sharp rises in rural areas such as East and North Dorset, and in big cities such as Sheffield, Dudley and Bristol.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber called on the government to provide more support for the long-term unemployed. “Government investment has kept unemployment well below the levels reached in previous recessions, but there can be no room for complacency,” he said. “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.”

Groups at risk of long-term unemployment, such as people aged over 50, should be able to access jobs before 18 months, he added.

Earlier this month the official unemployment figures revealed nearly 2.5 million people were out of work in the three months to October.

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