More than a quarter of a million people in Britain will spend their second successive Christmas on the dole in 2011, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned.
Its research found that 35,000 more people than last year have now been on Jobseeker's Allowance for longer than 12 months due to a contraction of the employment market and redundancies.
In total, 279,000 people are claiming the dole today, compared with 122,000 in 2007, before the effects of the recession took their toll.
The worst regions were found to be Scotland and London, with 28 per cent and 24 per cent more dole claimants than last year respectively.
However, residents in other parts of the UK are clearly struggling, as the TUC found that 105 local authorities now have more than 1,000 people on long-term Jobseeker's Allowance – the figure during the last Christmas before the recession was just 29.
The TUC warned that long-term unemployment can damage future career prospects and harm people's mental health.
General secretary Brendan Barber said the government must do more to help.
"The TUC is calling on ministers to make a fresh start in 2012 and focus on tackling our mounting jobs crisis. The UK – one of the richest countries on the world – must not have the shame of millions of its own citizens facing poverty at Christmas with little or no pay," he added.
Recent research from recruitment workforce solutions company Manpower found that eight out of ten employers are not intending to change their staffing levels in the next quarter, while the number looking to hire is similar to the level thinking of cutting jobs.
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