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British unemployment to hit 2.85 million mark next year

(Xinhua)

13:33, December 29, 2011

LONDON, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- The unemployment in Britain was forecast to rise significantly in 2012, and is predicted to reach 2.85 million by the end of 2012, said the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD) on Wednesday.

Britain's total employment is 29.11 million people, of whom 2.64 million were unemployed in November, the latest month for which figures are available, and the highest level for 14 years.

The CIPD said the repeated cuts in the public sector workforce, introduced by Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government would continue to outstrip the private sector's ability to create jobs.

The government's austerity measures, announced in autumn 2010 and taking large-scale effect from April this year, are the main part of its bid to reduce the near-record level of public sector borrowing, forecast to be 127 billion pounds (about 199 billion U.S. dollars).

John Philpott, the chief economic adviser at the CIPD said, "As long as there is a relatively benign outcome to the eurozone crisis we expect the 2012 jobs recession to be milder than that suffered in 2008-9."

"But unemployment in the coming year will be rising from a much higher starting point, so the British jobs market in 2012 will be weaker than at any time since the recession of the early 1990s," added Philpott.

Inflation in the British economy is 4.8 percent, and hit 5.3 percent over the summer, well above the target of 2 percent set by the central bank, the Bank of England (BOE). Yet, pay is failing to keep pace with the high rate of inflation.

One of the largest British trade unions, the GMB union, said on Wednesday that average wages in Britain had fallen by 5.9 percent in real terms between 2007 and 2011 as economic recession reduced the economy and workforce and high inflation outstripped pay rises.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said, "Full time workers in all regions in the UK have seen the value of their earnings drop when they have a job. Things have got a lot worse in the past year as the recovery underway at the time of the election stalled and the UK is mired in a new recession."

"Squeezing wages, pay freezes and cutting jobs will not restart the economy," said Kenny, who claimed that International Monetary Fund figures showed that British government cuts in spending would reduce real private consumption by 4 percent and gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.4 percent over the next few years."

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