There has been another big jump in the number of people out of work in Britain.
Last month it rose above two million for the first time since 1997 to stand at 6.5 percent of the working population. Questioned in parliament British Prime Minister Gordon Brown pointed out unemployment is higher in many other European countries but said his government is taking urgent action. He told MPs: “This is a matter of personal regret for me and for the whole government. I don’t regard unemployment as a statistic. I regard it as one person, a second person, a third person who needs our help. And that’s why we’ll do everything we can to help people get back to work.” Economists expect the total of UK jobless to go well above three million next year and the International Monetary Fund has warned the UK economy will contract by 3.8 percent this year. Soaring unemployment is also having a big impact on pay. In January, earnings were 0.2 percent lower from a year earlier – the first fall since records began in 1991.