British workers should brace themselves for a bleak few months, with figures out today suggesting half of UK companies are planning job losses and nearly three quarters will freeze or reduce wages this year.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has produced its monthly business survey which makes worrying reading for workers already feeling the pinch of the recession.
One in two of the 400 companies polled said redundancies were either planned or under consideration.
And nearly 60 per cent of the businesses surveyed said they were planning to freeze salaries this year, with 12 per cent planning to cut wages.
The BCC also revealed half of those surveyed blamed the current problems on the banks, as opposed to only 37 per cent who thought the government was most at fault.
David Frost, director-general of the BCC, will tell the group's annual convention in Birmingham today that the government must do more to counter the effects of the worldwide economic downturn.
He is due to say: "It is the countrys private sector that has faced all the pain of this recession.
"The government must realise that the private sector cannot bear all of the pain. There was some support in the Budget, but more is needed to help Britains embattled businesses so that they can drive our economy out of recession, creating jobs and wealth in the process."
Commenting, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber told inthenews.co.uk: "It is neither in the interests of workers, business nor the wider economy for there to be a general freeze on wages.
"Britains businesses need their customers to have the money in their pockets to buy their products and services. To call for cuts to public spending and a wage freeze would be for businesses to cut off their noses to spite their faces."