Labour today calls for a compulsory jobs guarantee for Britain's 129,000 long-term unemployed adults.

However, Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, makes clear that along with the carrot, there is a stick.

While there would be a job for every adult who was long-term unemployed, they would be obliged to take up the jobs or lose their benefits.

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At present, there are 129,400 Britons over 25 who have been out of work for 24 months or more – a rise of 88% since the same month last year and a rise of 146% in the last two years, said Mr Balls.

He added: "Britain needs real welfare reform that is tough, fair and that works, not divisive, nasty and misleading smears from a failing Government."