By Claire West
There are almost ten dole claimants for every job vacancy in Labour held constituencies, more than double the rate in Conservative seats, according to a Trades Union Congress (TUC) analysis published ahead of the latest unemployment statistics.
The TUC analysis finds that there are 9.8 Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) claimants per vacancy in Labour held constituencies, compared to a ratio of 6.1 in Liberal Democrat seats and 4.5 in seats with a Conservative MP. Across the UK, there are 6.3 dole claimants per job vacancy.
Of the 50 constituencies with the toughest job prospects - the highest number of dole claimants per job vacancy - 43 are Labour, four are Liberal Democrat, two are Conservative and one is held by the Scottish National Party (SNP). Forty one of the 50 constituencies with the most buoyant job prospects - the lowest number of claimants per vacancy - are Conservative held.
The unemployment rate, based on the number of people claiming JSA, has increased 2.1 percentage points since the start of the recession in Labour seats, compared to 1.3 percentage points in Conservative and Liberal Democrat seats.
The figures show a stark divide in labour market conditions between Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat held parliamentary seats, which has widened since the start of the recession in 2008.
Government ministers need to look beyond their own constituencies and to areas of the country with far tougher employment prospects before claiming there are plenty of jobs out there, says the TUC.
The analysis comes ahead of official labour market figures published later this morning. The TUC will be paying close attention to the latest figures on public sector employment, which are updated every three months, as well as levels of youth joblessness.
The government's record so far on unemployment - scrapping labour market programmes such as the Future Jobs Fund, cutting back on staff and support at Jobcentre Plus and talking tough on 'work shy scroungers' (implying unemployment is an individual's fault rather than a reflection of tough economic conditions) - suggests ministers are not taking the UK's mounting job crisis seriously enough, say the TUC.
The Chancellor could change this approach by introducing policies to boost growth and jobs in next week's budget, the TUC says, an opportunity George Osborne cannot afford to miss.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Today's unemployment figures are likely to send another strong warning sign about our mounting jobs crisis.
'But the government's response so far has been to cut key employment schemes and claim there are plenty of jobs out there.
'If ministers look beyond their own constituencies, which have been less affected by rising unemployment than other parts of the country, they will see that millions of people cannot find work and even those that can are extremely worried about the future.
'In Labour held areas, which tend to be less affluent and more metropolitan, there are ten people chasing every job. Worse still, the government's austerity programme is about to make things much worse.
'The government says there is no alternative to deep, early spending cuts. But the tens of thousands of people marching in London on Saturday 26 March will show there is strong support for policies that put growth, jobs and a fairer taxation at the heart of reducing the deficit and building a sustainable economic recovery.'