Coronavirus: Number of Universal Credit claimants rises by 2.4% in Tower Hamlets

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 Universal Credit claimants in Tower Hamlets has risen by 2.4 percent, according to the latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

There were 40,417 people receiving the benefit as of September 10, up 962 from the August 13 figure of 39,455.

This jump is slightly greater than the 880 new claimants that were recorded between July and August.

The 2.4 pc increase seen in Tower Hamlets did fall below the London average of 3pc, albeit just 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 Tower Hamlets, including with the Civil Service Academy who are delivering a programme at New City College ahead of recruiting for roles in the DWP, HMRC, Border Force and Prison Services.

The Kickstart programme — first reported by the Advertiser 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.

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

With recruitment under this programme still at an early stage, it is hoped that it will prove effective in helping many people who fall under this demographic find work.

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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