LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday that people should be prepared for unemployment to increase significantly after the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Britain soared to its highest level since 1996.

The claimant count rose by 856,500 – the biggest ever month-on-month leap – to 2.097 million, a 69% increase, the Office for National Statistics said.

“I think we should be prepared for the unemployment rate to increase significantly,” Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey told BBC radio.

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