UK: Unemployment hits 13-year peak

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The number of people out of work for more than a year increased by 85 000 in the three months to May to reach 772 000, the highest total since April 1997. During the same quarter, the overall figure rose by 23 000 to 2.47 million.

The Institute for Employment Studies called on the Government to use next week’s budget to provide help for the long-term unemployed to gain work experience ‘with a real employer’ rather than putting them on training programmes which ‘don’t help very much’.

Private sector providers of training and job placements defended their role in helping long-term jobseekers back to work with one director claiming that their industry placed some 300 000 people per year. At the same time, Rob Murdoch, the executive director of one such company suggested that many jobseekers were put off applying for work because of the possible effects on their state benefits. He also said that one method of job creation could be helping to support public sector staff to run public services with private funding.