Coronavirus: Number of Universal Credit claimants rises by 2.8% in Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 15:00 22 October 2020

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

PA Wire/PA Images

The number of Universal Credit claimants in Redbridge has risen by 2.8 percent, according to the latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

There were 30,703 people receiving the benefit as of September 10, up 848 from the August 13 figure of 29,855.

This jump is significantly greater than the 155 new claimants that were recorded between July and August.

The 2.8 pc increase seen in Redbridge did fall below the London average of 3pc, but above the 2.2 pc average recorded across the country.

DWP senior partnership manager Steve Hanshaw says the department is working hard behind the scenes to create avenues for people to get back into work: “We have been using the sector-based work academies to try and actively upskill people, and last week was the first full week of recruiting for the Kickstart programme. Already there’s been a lot of interest, and I think there will be real mileage behind the scheme.”

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Sector-based work academies are open to anyone in receipt of benefits who is ready to work; the idea is that the DWP works with prospective employers to tailor a programme suited to their needs, with anyone enrolled guaranteed a job interview at the end of the placement.

There are a number of ongoing sector-based work academies across east London and Redbridge, including with UPS (recruiting warehouse operatives), Eddie Stobart and the Civil Service Academy (for DWP, HMRC, Border Force and Prison Services).

The Kickstart programme — first reported by the Recorder in July as part of chancellor Rishi’s Sunak economic plan — is a scheme for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit at high risk long-term unemployment.

It will see funding provided for work placements of 25 hours per week paid at the national minimum wage.

As Steve highlights, recruiting for this programme has only just started, with the hope that many people in this demographic will find work in this way.

Job seekers are also encouraged to visit the @jcpineastlondon Twitter page from 11am every Friday to discover which employers are recruiting across east London.

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