Osborne's next headache: rising unemployment

Unemployment is set to rise to 2.7m in 2013.

As the economy has sunk deeper into recession, the Conservatives have pointed to falling unemployment as proof that their strategy isn't failing on every count. But what few have noticed is that almost every forecaster expects joblessness to rise over the next year.

Today, the British Chambers of Commerce said that it expected unemployment to increase from 2.56 million (8%) in Q2 2012 to 2.75 million in Q4 2013, a net increase of 186,000. It cited the planned spending cuts (most of which have yet to be implemented), the lack of growth, and rising productivity as reasons why the jobless total will rise. Similarly, the CBI said that it expected unemployment to rise to 2.7 million next year, despite the likely return of the economy to growth (the reverse of the trend that has so confounded economists).

Both the BCC and the CBI expect unemployment to start falling after 2013 but a year of rising joblessness will make it even harder for George Osborne to tell anything resembling a good story.

Unemployment is expected to peak at 2.7m in 2013. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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