James Forsyth

The government expects unemployment to hit record levels next year

The government expects unemployment to hit record levels next year
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Sophy Ridge has a good scoop in The News of the World today: the government is operating on the assumption that the number of unemployed will peak at 3.5 million in October 2010. This would be the largest number of people unemployed in modern British history. Indeed when you add in the people on other out of work benefits, it would suggest that the real figure for unemployment will be around 6 million.

That unemployment will not reach its peak until October 2010—after the next election—suggests that the economy will not start growing again in the third quarter of this year as Brown and Darling predicted in the PBR.  It looks certain that the economic forecasts in the PBR will have to be revised downwards in the Budget this year, causing yet more damage to Labour’s standing on the economy.

PS Some Coffee Housers have asked why we haven’t blogged on Jacqui Smith's housing arrangements. Frankly, I don’t have much to say except that it seems like another case of an arrangement that is within the letter but not the spirit of the regulations and is corrosive of the public’s trust in politicians. Also when you consider the costs of the police protecting her sister’s house, one sees why grace and favour flats actually make sense. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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