Coronavirus: Latest figures show drop-off in new universal credit claims in Newham amid national increase

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 August 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 new claims for universal credit has fallen as the UK continues to recover from coronavirus.

Between June 11 and July 9, there were 1,236 new claims made in Newham, compared to 3,167 for the previous month (between May 14 and June 11).

Though these extra claims mean there are currently 46,336 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.

Newham approached lockdown with almost 20,000 claimants; the 19,806 recorded on March 12 was high when compared to neighbouring areas, second only to Tower Hamlets (20,244) at this point.

By contrast, in March there were 14,544 claimants in Barking and Dagenham; 12,924 in Redbridge and 9,649 in Havering.

As of July 9, the 46,336 claimants in Newham puts the borough top of this same group, now ahead of Tower Hamlets’ 38,575 claimants.

This month’s rise — 1,236 new claimants — is notable when compared to jump of 16,189 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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