One in four jobless since election

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More than one in four people of working age have had a spell of unemployment since the last general election, Labour said yesterday.

In total, 10,225,000 people have signed on since April 1992 - 27 per cent of all people between 16 and retirement age. In Wirral South, where voters go to the polls in a by-election today, 14,000 people have claimed benefit.

The figures were given in a written answer to Labour's employment spokesman, Stephen Byers. Yesterday Mr Byers criticised ministers who had claimed that job insecurity was "a state of mind".

He added: "They should try telling that to the one in four who have lost their jobs since the last election. Fran Abrams