British Chambers of Commerce predict 10% of the UK workforce will be jobless

Unemployment will top three million in 2009, according to the British Chambers of Commerce, the Guardian has reported.

The jobless figure predicted by the BCC represents 10% of the country's workforce, as companies downsize or fold due to the economic downturn.

The body also expects a fall in economic output of as much as 2.9%, greater than in the recession of the early nineties. This could have a long-term negative effect on individual companies but also the government's finances, perhaps putting at risk the public sector spending which has come to be seen by many as a relatively safe haven.

House prices are expected to continue to fall, with predictions of a drop of a much as 20%.