Ministers pump emergency £100m into training programmes in bid to ward off rising unemployment

Ministers will today pump an emergency £100million into training programmes to try to head off the threat of rising unemployment.

Cash from the European Union will be allocated to help those losing their jobs to retrain for new work.

The announcement is the latest sign ministers are bracing themselves for the social impact of a recession.

Teenagers check out leaflets at a Job Centre.

The £100m is being pumped into training programmes to head off the threat of rising unemployment

James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said: 'At a time like this we need to everything in our power to help people who lose their job.

'These are uncertain times and the clear message I want to send to people is that there is help available if the worst happens and they find themselves unemployed.'

The money will come from the European Social Fund and be administered by the Department for Skills.

Ministers are aware of the political damage that lengthening dole queues can have on a Government's fortunes.

Last week Mr Purnell warned that the Government would be unable to protect jobs when the turmoil in the world money markets hits the high street.

In a speech to Jobcentre staff, Mr Purnell said: 'Over recent months my Department has been conducting detailed analysis of current trends in the labour market and scenario planning for the future.

'As you know, over the last few months we've been doing contingency planning for the possibility of rising unemployment.'