Unemployment will rise to more than three million by 2011, the Treasury has predicted.
In an answer to a parliamentary question from Labour MP Frank Field yesterday, ministers were told that the cost of unemployment benefits was expected to almost double in the next two years.
The government currently spends £2bn each year on Jobseeker’s Allowance, and this number is expected to rise to £3.25bn by this time next year, and to £3.8bn by spring 2011.
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We are doing everything to ensure Jobcentre Plus has the resources it needs to help give every jobseeker the support they need to get back into work.”
In February, the UK’s claimant count rose by 138,400, the largest monthly increase since records began in 1971.