Coronavirus: Latest figures show drop-off in new universal credit claims in Tower Hamlets amid national increase
PUBLISHED: 17:31 21 August 2020
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The number of new claims for universal credit fell between between June and July as the UK continues to recover from coronavirus.
Between June 11 and July 9, there were 1,196 new claims made in Tower Hamlets, compared to 1,558 for the previous month (between May 14 and June 11).
Though these extra claims mean there are currently 38,575 people on universal credit in the borough, the lower jump 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”.
The department’s latest focus is on sector-based work academies, open to anyone in receipt of benefits who is ready to work.
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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”.
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.
Tower Hamlets approached lockdown with more than 20,000 claimants; the 20,244 recorded on March 12 was the highest amongst neighbouring areas.
By contrast, Barking and Dagenham had 14,544 at the same point; Newham had 19,806. Havering recorded less than half of the Tower Hamlets total (9,649).
By June 11, the borough’s 37,379 claimants were second only to Newham’s 45,100.
This month’s rise — 1,196 new claimants — is notable when compared to the jump of 8,084 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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