Britain is facing a "deeply worrying" jobs crisis with almost four people chasing every vacancy - rising to more than 20 in the worst-hit areas, Unison warned today.
The public service union revealed that in 113 local authorities there are five or more jobseekers for every job vacancy. In 26 authorities more than 10 people are out of work for each vacancy.
"London is one of the worst-hit regions," said Unison. "In nearly a third of London's 32 boroughs there are more than 10 unemployed people pursuing every job.
"In Hackney there are more than 20 claimants for every vacant job."
Unison said more than 500,000 public-sector jobs have been axed since the coalition came to power. Experts predict the toll could reach 1.2 million by 2016/17.
General secretary Dave Prentis said: "The scale of the ongoing jobs crisis is deeply worrying. Three long years of cuts, with more to come, and still there are not enough jobs to go around. The government has got it wrong on the recession and it has sacrificed our recovery. As well as laying waste to our public services, cuts have a stranglehold on the private sector."
He called on the government to use next week's Budget "to outline a bold strategy for jobs and growth. Make people feel secure in their jobs and they are more likely to spend. Give public-sector workers a decent pay rise and more money will flow through tills in local shops and businesses, helping our beleaguered high streets."
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt's admission that the Cameron government has "supported" a survey of attitudes to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas amounts to a tacit admission of British involvement.