Fewer new universal credit claims in Redbridge amid national increase

The latest Universal Credit figures have been released by the DWP. Picture: Chris Young

The latest Universal Credit figures have been released by the DWP. Picture: Chris Young - Credit: PA

The number of new claims for universal credit has fallen as the UK continues to recover from coronavirus.

Between June 11 and July 9, there were 518 new claims made in Redbridge, compared to 1,950 for the previous month (between May 14 and June 11).

Though these extra claims mean there are currently 29,700 people on universal credit in the borough, the lower rise between June and July is “encouraging”, says Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) customer service leader Kay Pegler.

However, this must be considered against the national picture which shows that as of July 9, there are 5.6 million people on universal credit across the country — an increase of two per cent from the month before.

Although mindful that these numbers may rise come the end of the furlough scheme in October, Kay believes “things could be much worse if it wasn’t for the measures introduced by the government”.

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The department’s latest focus is on sector-based work academies, open to anyone in receipt of benefits who is ready to work.

While not a new invention, Kay explains that the DWP aims to create more of these academies “to help meet immediate and future recruitment needs”.

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The idea is to work with prospective employers to tailor a programme suited to their needs, with anyone enrolled guaranteed a job interview at the end of the placement.

Those interested are asked to contact their work coach for further information.

Redbridge approached lockdown with more than 10,000 claimants, with the 12,924 recorded on March 12 somewhere between the numbers declared by neighbouring boroughs.

At that point, Barking and Dagenham had a greater number of claimants (14,544), while Havering’s numbers were lower (9,649).

As of July 9, Redbridge’s numbers have now eclipsed Barking and Dagenham (29,700 versus 28,778 claimants), remaining higher than those recorded in Havering (29,700 to 21,019 claimants).

This month’s rise — 518 new claimants — is notable when compared to jump of 7,542 recorded between April 9 and May 14.

Between sector-based work academies and the Flexible Support Fund (FSF), Kay says there are a number of measures in place designed to “give people the tools they need to thrive”.

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