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Unemployment passes 2 million mark


Unemployment has passed the 2 million mark for the first time in 12 years. Skip related content

The number of people out of work increased by 165,000 in the three months to January, to 2.03 million.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance increased by a record 138,400 last month to 1.39 million.

Prime Minister Goordon Brown told the Commons it was a "matter of personal regret for me and the whole Government" if people lost their jobs or were in fear of doing so.

He promised that the Government would do "everything we can" to help people get back into work.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This is another milestone in the return of mass unemployment to the UK, and it will get worse before it gets better as unemployment always persists even after a recovery starts.

"But this unemployment has not just been made in Britain, and requires an international response. It is beginning to look like the G20 summit may not agree the co-ordinated boost to the world economy called for by Barack Obama and Gordon Brown."

He added: "International summits may seem a long way from the dole queues, but without such a stimulus unemployment will go higher and last longer.

"We need to put every pressure on world leaders to work together to fight the recession."

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, said: "As well as the misery for the two million on the dole, add the fear of millions of others who know that they too are at risk of redundancy. We do not know who the next million to lose their job will be.

"The harsh reality is that capitalism is revealed as anarchy writ large. Voters are not known to vote for anarchy. This could impact on voters at the next election."