Nearly 280,000 facing second Christmas on the dole

The number of long-term dole claimants has risen by 35,000 since last year, according to an analysis of official statistics by the TUC.

The steepest increases in long-term joblessness have been in Scotland (up 28 per cent) and London (up 24 per cent).

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's allowance over Christmas will be 279,000, said the trade union group, up from 243,000 last year.

Hounslow has had the sharpest rise in the UK, with those set to spend another Christmas on the dole in the London authority doubling to more than 500.

In the last Christmas before the recession just 29 local authorities had more than 1,000 people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for at least a year. Local authorities bearing such a burden of long-term joblessness have risen to 105. The tally of people about to spend their third successive Christmas on the dole has risen to 75,000.