Universal Credit claims almost double since December
Date published: 21 September 2020
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The numbers claiming Universal Credit do not necessarily indicate a corresponding rise in unemployment
Local Universal Credit claims have almost doubled since December, according to the latest official figures.
New data released last week show 25,980 people in the Rochdale local authority area are claiming the benefit, an increase of 1.8% on the previous figures, and an increase of 48% since December 2019.
In December, the number was significantly lower, with 13,734 people in the Rochdale borough receiving Universal Credit support,
The latest stats are for all people claiming Universal Credit, not just those who are unemployed.
The increase is likely due to the coronavirus pandemic as the government encouraged people to apply for the benefit when the UK went into lockdown and employees were laid off or furloughed from their jobs.
The numbers claiming Universal Credit do not necessarily indicate a corresponding rise in unemployment; the benefit is designed in such a way to adapt to changing circumstances - it tops up income if earnings drop, so not every new claimant will have lost their job or be fully unemployed.
Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with living costs. You may be able to get it if you're on a low income, out of work or you cannot work. It replaced Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Working Tax Credit.
Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said: “Universal Credit is a vital safety net for those who need it. It has stood up to the toughest of tests and supported millions through the pandemic, with 90% of people receiving their payment in full and on time.
“Now, we are doubling the number of work coaches to ensure that everyone gets the individual tailored support that they need. This is a key part of our Plan for Jobs, designed to get Britain back into work safely.”
Sector Based Work Academies and Direct JCP Recruitment
With the recession due to impact the 18-24 group, the Department for Work and Pensions wants to ensure that local people have skills to meet demand and have access to opportunities within their local areas.
In partnership with training provider Mantra and local agent Paragon Mead, various Sector Based Work Academy opportunities to help reskill customers are in place. Through this partnership, 14 learners have gained a Level 2 Certificate in Warehousing and Cleaning and will now be invited to interview with an employer. A further 34 customers are completing their pre-employment training and will also secure interviews.
Rochdale Job Centre Plus is working collaboratively with training System Group, to deliver a Virtual Open Day for customers who are interested in undertaking their LGV license. 25 customers will start their training following the open day and once again will have a guaranteed job interview post course.
Local agent Paragon Mead is managing recruitment for local warehouse Footasylum which has offered up to 150 vacancies. To date, and from job centre referrals made, there have been 63 people employed through this managed vacancy.
DWP is also working with the new KFC restaurant at Sandbrook Park, having referred 16 people to roles there.
For individuals proactively seeking work across the borough, sectors impacted by Covid-19 are now starting to open up pockets of recruitment for both skilled and unskilled workers.
There are 166 jobs advertised within five miles of Rochdale, through DWP’s ‘Find a Job’ site.
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