Latest figures show London experienced above average increase in Universal Credit claims last month

Signage for the Department for Work & Pensions in Westminster. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA.

The latest Universal Credit figures have been released by the Department for Work and Pensions. - Credit: PA

Claims for Universal Credit increased by an average of four per cent across London between October and November, according to the latest figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

This increase - larger than the England average of 2.7pc - was reflected in the November numbers recorded in Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets respectively. 

Of the five, the biggest surge was seen in Newham. Its increase of 4.9pc meant that as of November 12, there are 52,074 Universal Credit claimants in the borough. This was up from 49,570 on October 8.

Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets experienced broadly similar percentage increases between October and November. There was a 3.8pc jump in Barking and Dagenham (from 30,301 to 31,503); Redbridge rose by 3.4pc (from 31,229 to 32,325), and Tower Hamlets increased by 3.5pc (from 41,417 to 42,930).

The smallest increase, by some way, was seen in Havering. Its October figure of 21,500 only rose by 0.9pc (197) to the 21,697 recorded on November 12.

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Though the figures continue to increase, there is cause for optimism says DWP senior partnership manager Steve Hanshaw: "We are starting to place a lot of young people through vacancies identified in the Kickstart scheme, which is a real catalyst for getting on the ladder.

"We are starting to see the fruits of the work we are doing."

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Steve emphasises that the department's work - particularly now - is focused on more than just securing employment: "The help we give is not just about employment, it's also about wellbeing."

One major recruitment campaign happening in east London is working with Bart’s Health NHS Trust community engagement team to deliver vaccinations at London ExCeL.

The trust is keen to attract local residents for this campaign, with those interested asked to contact their Job Centre Plus for details. 

Government minister for employment Mims Davies MP said: “It’s been a challenging year for many families but with vaccines beginning to roll out and the number of vacancies increasing there is hope on the horizon for 2021."

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