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Unemployed Djamal Chaab Sets Fire To Himself In France After Being Denied Benefits

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A man has died by setting himself on fire outside a job centre in France after being denied unemployment benefit.

Djamal Chaab, 43, sent a letter explaining his desperation to several newspapers in France before he poured petrol over himself outside the Pôle Emploi agency in Nantes Est on Wednesday night.

He died at the scene, despite efforts by the police to stop the act, according to the BBC. He was reportedly frustrated that his benefits had been stopped, having been told by authorities that he had not worked for enough to qualify by unemployment insurance.

Unemployment figures have risen sharply in France over the past decade, with current levels at the highest they have been for 13 years.

Philippe Baot from CGT Chômeurs, a branch of the CGT trade union, which fights for the rights of the unemployed, told The Local the benefits system was "inhumane" and that his death was a direct result of that unfair system.

"The system is too complicated and it’s inhumane. The Pôle Emploi has cut relations with those seeking jobs. Everything is done on the phone or internet which excludes a lot of people," Baot added.

In a statement the union said: "This drama brutally shows the terrible daily reality of unemployment."

pôle emploi

The Pôle Emploi agency in France

Just over 10% of the workforce is unemployed in France, and Francis Hollande has pledged to cut the number of those out of work by the end 2013.

Spain and Greece are also battling crumbling living standards and rising prices. Just over one in four people are unemployed in Greece; that's over a million people out of work.

Last month pictures of Greeks scrambling for food hand outs sparked fresh waves of anger in the country amid crippling austerity measures.

One man queuing for food had to be treated for injuries after he fell to the floor and the crowds trampled over him.

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Greeks scrambling for food in Athens

The UK has the one of the worst levels for youth unemployment in the developed world, with just Spain and Greece experiencing higher levels in the OECD.

In addition, the UK has experienced the fastest rise in youth unemployment of any country in the G8 since the start of the recession.

The benefits system is also undergoing a period of massive change in the UK too, with some of biggest reforms to welfare for over 60 years.

More than two million people on disability benefit are currently being assessed as part of a government drive to encourage people off benefits and back to work. Atos performs the test, but the final decision to cut or award benefits rests with the DWP.

Anti-cuts and disability campaigners claim that inaccurate testing is forcing disabled people to live in poverty and in some cases driving them to take their own life.

George Osborne has been criticised for his rhetoric of 'strivers' and 'skivers' conjured up images of lazy unemployed people sleeping all day whilst other people get up early to go out to work.