Quarter of a million jobseekers to spend second Christmas on the dole

By agency reporter
December 24, 2014

Over 250,000 people are set to spend their second successive Christmas on the dole, according to Trades Union Congress (TUC) research published on 19 December.

The actual number of people spending their second successive Christmas out of work is even higher. The 250,000 figure includes only those who are claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). But under the more comprehensive International Labour Organisation (ILO) measure – which is based on all those who are not employed and seeking work without regard to benefit status – there will be around 700,000 people in this position.

Although the number of long-term claimants reduced in 2014, there was a rise in long-term youth unemployment last month (November). And the wider ILO measure of long-term unemployment is falling more slowly than the long-term unemployed claimant count. This may point to a falling proportion of long-term unemployed jobseekers receiving the support they need from the benefit system, says the TUC.

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.

“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.”


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