Unemployment rates are looking bleak this Christmas as Britain is expecting to have 2 million members of the public in the dole line over the festive season.

In the three month lead up to October the number of people unemployed in Britain took a sharp turn for the worse as the total figure jumped up 137,000 to a grand total of 1.86 million.  This is the highest the unemployment rate has been since 1997 and analysts are expecting the rate to reach 2 million over the Christmas season.

Even worse news for employees is that predictions are being thrown around that are showing that a further one million workers will lose their jobs in 2009 as a reaction to the current economic crisis.

In an attempt to make the following months slightly more comfortable for those victims of the recession, the TUC are requesting that the Government increases the statutory redundancy pay from £330 to £500.

The TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, says, “These people … are blameless victims of a worldwide economic downturn and deserve to be treated as such.  As well as more support to get back into work, unemployed people need more immediate financial support to help them cope with life on the dole.”

The TUC is demanding that the tax-free limit on redundancy pay should be brought up from £30,000 to£50,000 and the Job Seeker’s Allowance should be increased from £60.50 to £75 a week.

However, in an attempt to combat the unemployment rates in a different way, the Government is said to be preparing to announce a new £158 million training scheme aimed at unemployed people.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions, said, “With over half a million vacancies across the country we’re continuing to give real help to people who lose their jobs, with support and advice, from job search to skills and training.”

It looks as though the unemployment rates are not going to be slowed down any time soon as George Buckley from the Deutsche Bank claimed that, “It’s obviously very, very weak. I think what’s interesting is the scale of job losses this early in the cycle.  Unemployment is normally a lagging indicator so to see so many job losses this early in the cycle is extremely worrying.”

General Secretary of the GMB Union, Paul Kenney, also felt that the figures were an indication of how the festive season wouldn’t be putting a smile on everyone’s faces.  “These figures reflect how many families face bleak prospects during Christmas and the New Year. Things will get a lot worse before they get better.

“As well as taking measures to restart their economies, Governments in the UK and elsewhere need to take steps to deal once and for all with the elements in the financial sector that visited this recession upon us.”

Barber went on with his attack, saying, “If ever there was a sign that we need a fundamentally different economic approach in the UK, this is it.”

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