400,000 LONG-TERMJOBLESS MAY NEVER WORK.
MORE than 400,000 people may never work again after being jobless for two years, a shock report warns today.
And 100,000 workers aged over 50 could be forced to retire early with smaller pensions due to the worsening jobs market.
The grim predictions come after latest unemployment figures this month showed the dole queue has soared to 2.49 million.
And the recession is forcing more into long-term unemployment with the number of people out of work for more than two years now at its highest level since 1997.
The figure has more than doubled since the financial meltdown of 2008, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank.
The IPPR predicts the number of long-term unemployed will soar even higher due to fierce competition for jobs.
Among the worst hit are young workers aged 18 to 24. The number of these out of work for at least two years has almost trebled since 2008 from just 36,000 to 95,000.
Experts fear some of those young people may never find work unless the Government takes urgent action.
IPPR chief economist Tony Dolphin said: "The longer someone is out of work, the more they lose motivation and confidence. They also miss out on vital training and work experipledging ence. This means that even when employment starts to pick up again, they will find it hard to compete with other jobseekers and could find themselves permanently shut out of the jobs market."
The think-tank called on Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne to guarantee a minimum-wage job to anyone unemployed for more than a year.
Anyone who refused the job would lose benefits. According to the IPPR's "Jobs for the Future" report, almost a quarter of those who have been jobless for more than two years are over 50.
Mr Dolphin warned: "We cannot afford to let so many people permanently drift away from the world of work."
The IPPR also called on the Government to rethink its decision to slash the childcare parents can claim through tax credits.
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