THERE has been a rise in the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits in Worcester.

There was an increase of 135 people in Worcester who claimed unemployment-related benefits in January 2019 compared to 2018.

Figures show that 1,719 people were on the ‘claimant count’ in January.

The data, from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), shows that 252 of those people in Worcester claiming unemployment-related benefits were between the age of 18 and 24.

The DWP said the increase is due to the introduction of Universal Credit because the new single benefit requires a broader span of people to look for work than was the case for previous benefits.

For example, someone out of work who previously claimed Child Tax Credit or Housing Benefit but not Jobseeker’s Allowance was not required to look for work. Under Universal Credit they are required to look for work, subject to certain exceptions.

A spokesman said Worcester’s job centre is working with employers to provide more job opportunities,with Diglis Hotel, Greggs, The Whitehouse Hotel and the Premier Inn among the organisations that are hiring.

Lynn Denham, Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for Worcester, said: “This large increase in the unemployed claimant count is a worrying indication that the West Midlands economy is not doing so well. The government is failing to create an environment of business confidence.

“The Tories’ austerity programme has failed workers and businesses and there is a lack of vision or plan for investment in our future.

“Each new claimant for benefits will now be faced with the difficulties of the Universal Credit system.”

“The social security net to support people in hard times has been broken.”

In Wychavon, comparing data from this time last year, there has been an increase of 142 claimants, with 1,357 people claiming unemployment benefits.

The Malvern Hills area however has seen an improvement. There has been a drop of 14, with 135 people (aged 18 to 24) claiming benefits.


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