Official figures to be released on Wednesday of this week are expected to reveal that the total number of unemployed topped two million at the end of last year – the highest figure since Labour came to power in 1997.
The total number of unemployed could rise to three million by next year.
Almost 40 percent of employers have made plans for redundancies over the next year, according a survey of 900 employers. More than one in three are planning to cut jobs in the first three months of the year.
Some 45 per cent of manufacturing bosses say they are set to cut jobs. Thirteen percent of bosses had “no intention of carrying out a pay review this year”. And 18 percent of employers had already introduced short-time working.