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Blanchflower told MPs to expect "a large increase in unemployment," and warned that a "horrible surprise" could be just around the corner. The gloomy assessment sent shares in London falling, and also weakened sterling yet further against the dollar.
The claimant count has already risen for the last six months. In July it increased by 20,100, the fastest rate since the early 1990s.
Blanchflower, who has repeatedly tried and failed in recent months to persuade the MPC to cut interest rates, predicted that the unemployment count will rise by 60,000 a month for several months in a row, probably starting in October.