More than one million jobless Britons have been living off state handouts for more than 12 years, it has emerged.
A hardcore army of unemployed have failed to find any sort of work since Labour came to power in 1997.
The true scale of the crisis has been laid bare by figures which break down for the first time the length of time people have been out of work.
A further 1.9million have been on benefits for seven years or more, according to the Department of Work and Pensions.
The 1.1million unemployed since 1997 amounts to more than a fifth of the 5.2million currently claiming out-of-work benefits.
The figures also reveal that youth employment has soared under Labour from 665,000 in 1997 to 888,000 today - a staggering 34 per cent.
Opposition MPs said the cost to the public purse could be as much as Ł4billion. They added that an entire generation has
permanently dropped out of society, leading to increased family breakdown and crime.
Official statistics show that the gap between rich and poor has widened under Labour, with the poorest 10 per cent forced to survive on an income of just Ł87-aweek compared to Ł96 in 1997.
Health inequalities have also increased, growing 4 per cent for men and 11 per cent for women.
The revelations will fuel anger on Labour's backbenches that the party has betrayed the most vulnerable in society.
Frustration boiled over earlier this week when Labour MPs launched a fresh assault on Gordon Brown's controversial decision to abolish the 10p tax band.
Many fear a backlash from voters on low incomes.
The figures also make a mockery of Peter Mandelson's claim in 1997 that 'one of the fruits of Labour's success will be that Britain has become a more equal society.'
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne condemned the statistics, saying: 'The bills of social failure have never been higher than under this Prime Minister.'
Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman Steve Webb said: 'These people have lost all self esteem and the ability to find work and have been written off by this Labour Government.'
Mark Wallace, from the Taxpayers' Alliance, added: 'The way the Government have structured benefits means there is precious little incentive to start work and people are penalised for doing so.
'It is time we raised the bottom income tax thresholds to help poor people back into work.'
The statistics also show that the number of immigrants working in the private sector has doubled since Labour was elected, from-1.4millon to nearly 3million.
This rise is the same as the number of jobs created in the sector over the same period.
In contrast, the number of British-born private workers has dropped slightly, from 17.9million to 17.8million.
Tory MP Michael Fallon, who sits on the Treasury select committee, said: 'The interesting thing is that in Labour's heartlands where people claim they cannot find jobs or are off work with stress, there are plenty of Poles and Lithuanians finding work.'
--(fuck off you numpty. How about you work for next to nothing and see how far you get till the bailiffs come knocking on your door!)--
A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said: 'As a result of Government reforms the number of people on incapacity benefit has fallen after it trebled in the '80s and '90s.
'Of course some people suffer from serious long-term health problems which prevent them from working but our welfare reforms mean most people are expected to do something in return for support. And the extra help is working to get more people into jobs.'