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Number of long-term jobless hits 20-year high – and most haven’t worked for two years


Long-term unemployment is at its highest level in almost two decades, figures released today show.

Around 915,000 Britons have now been unemployed for a year or more, up 32,000 from last year, making it the highest number of long-term jobless since 1996. More than half of these –  474,000 –  have been out of work for at least two years.

Liam Byrne MP, shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “it’s now clear the Government’s so-called welfare revolution has collapsed. Three years into this Parliament, there are now more people unemployed long term than at any time since 1996.

“No wonder George Osborne says the Work Programme is underperforming. The jury is in. The Government’s welfare reform has failed. We have a nearly a million young people out of work and nearly a million people locked out of work long term – half of those for two years or more.”