Number of Universal Credit claimants has increased again

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 5:02pm

By Alice Richardson, Local Democracy Reporter @alice_rReach

The number of people on Universal Credit has gone up in every single one of Greater Manchester's 10 boroughs again.

The latest figures for the city-region have been released for October as the impact of COVID-19 continues.

The overall number of those claiming the all-in-one benefit does not necessarily match the number of unemployed people across the region, as it represents all those in need of a top-up for their earnings as well as those who are out of work and struggling to make ends meet.

In total as of October, there are now 309,295 people claiming the benefit across Greater Manchester – which accounts for just over 10pc of the city-region’s 2.8m population.

There are now 4,440 more people on Universal Credit that weren’t in September.

The worst affected borough is Manchester which now has 75,059 people claiming Universal Credit, an increase of 1,349 in just four weeks from the 73,710 in September.

Next comes Oldham with 32,301 claimants compared to 31,723 last month, then Wigan with 31,902 now; up from 31,662 in September.

Following Wigan is Bolton with 30,889 this month compared to 30,325 in September.

Then it’s Salford with 30,561 claimants, an increase of 416 from 30,145 the month before.

After Salford comes Rochdale with 26,709 people claiming Universal Credit compared to 26,290 in September.

Tameside is next with 26,009 claimants, up from the 25,834 claiming four weeks earlier.

Then in Stockport, 21,159 people are claiming the all-in-one benefit, up from 20,984 previously.

Bury comes next with 17,495 claimants, an increase from the 17,258 claiming earlier and Trafford is last with 17,211 – up from 16,954 the month before.

There are a total of 167,000 unemployed people across the North West of England, as of September 2020, with 4.6pc of the population in the region affected – which is less than the national average.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “This remains a challenging time for families across the country and today’s figures show the impact the virus is having on our labour market.

“Through our plan for jobs we have a relentless focus on protecting, supporting and creating jobs and we continue to help people of all ages into work.

“We’re doubling the number of work coaches across our jobcentres with 4,500 already taking up posts, our £2bn Kickstart scheme is under way with the first recruits starting last week.

“We continue to take the necessary action to save jobs and protect livelihoods as our response to coronavirus evolves, which is why we’ve extended furlough.”

Job centres across the UK are set to double the number of work coaches supporting those looking for employment by next year.

A recruitment drive will see 13,500 new work coaches join the department by March 2021.

The government’s Kickstart programme is due to provide six-month placements for young people from Autumn this year and is set to continue until December 2021.

The programme will see the government pay national minimum wage for up to 25 hours a week to help people into work, employers involved in the scheme will be able to top that wage up if they choose to.

In Greater Manchester there have already been around 450 enquiries from employers interested in the scheme.

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