More than 250,000 desperate job seekers will spend their second successive Christmas on the dole, says the TUC.
The shocking figure flies in the face of government claims that they’re supporting more long-term unemployed people into work.
And the TUC claim the actual number could be as high as 700,000, because it only includes unemployed people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
Despite a recent fall in long-term unemployment in 2014, there was a rise in young people left stranded on the dole in November 2014.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) measure – which is based on all those who are not employed and seeking work without regard to benefit status – suggests long-term unemployment is falling more slowly than the long-term unemployed claimant count, says the TUC.
This points to a falling proportion of long-term unemployed jobseekers receiving the support they need from the benefit system.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“One Christmas out of work is hard enough, but by the second Christmas your savings will all be gone and your confidence has probably taken a significant hit.
“It’s hard to bring some festive cheer to your family in that situation, especially for parents who want to make Christmas special for their children.”
Frances O’Grady blamed Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship back-to-work programme for the plight of hundreds of thousands of young jobseekers.
“If the government’s Work Programme for long-term unemployed people had performed as well as the ministers said it was going to, there would be far fewer people facing a second Christmas on the dole.
“What’s more, there has been a worrying rise in the proportion of long-term unemployed people not receiving any help at all. The government should focus on providing long-term unemployed people with proper support to move back into work rather than blaming them for our unequal jobs recovery.”
London has the highest number of people claiming JSA for longer than 12 months at 36,785, with the West Midlands coming in second at 31,175 and Yorkshire and the Humber in third at 30,105. Under the ILO definition these figures would be 107,059, 87,828 and 75,094 respectively.
TUC say the overall long-term ILO unemployment count has fallen nearly a third slower than the overall long-term claimant count – a drop of 23.2 per cent compared to 33.7 per cent for the long-term claimant count over the past 12 months.