WORCESTER’S claims for universal credit have surged by more than 100% since last year, official figures reveal.

The Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) said that Worcester’s claims under Universal Credit rose by 2,165 (118%) in comparison to May 2019.

In May this year, 4,000 people applied for benefits in Worcester.

Between the ages of 18 to 24, 717 people applied for benefits – compared to 414 from the previous year.

Worcester’s MP Robin Walker said: “These figures are high and a lot higher than I would like them to be.

“They also are relatively low numbers compared to what it would have been like if we didn’t have the furlough scheme.

“We recently saw a figure of 16,000 people in Worcester access the coronavirus job retention scheme. That reflects the huge intervention to support the economy.

“The key thing now is that we need a recovery so that people who have been claiming Universal Credit, either temporarily or who have lost their jobs permanently, can get into work.

“My focus is on measures which can support businesses taking people on. I want to make sure we get more apprenticeships and jobs created locally.”

In Malvern, 2,202 people applied for benefits – this has risen by 1,277 (138%) from last year.

Between the ages of 18 to 24, 374 people applied for benefits – which is a comparison of 233 from 2019.

In Wychavon, 3,810 people applied for benefits – this has risen by 2,421 (174%).

Between the ages of 18 to 24, 677 people applied for benefits – which is a comparison of 471 from the previous year.

The latest Universal Credit claimant count stats come from May, and the new ones will be released in October.

A spokesman from DWP for Worcester said: “For us now it’s about being innovative and being an organisation thinking outside the box and getting more people into work.”

Here’s a lift of job opportunities in Worcester, issued by Worcester Jobcentre.

The Range in Tybridge Street have eight x 16 hour roles in Worcester.

Home Bargains in Droitwich is due to open on November 14 which will create more than 50 jobs.

Total Security Worcester have guaranteed 20 interviews.

HGV (Telford College) was booked at Worcester Army Reserve Centre, but cancelled in March due to Covid.This is hopefully due to be rescheduled shortly.

Worcestershire County Council have recruited for a new Partnership Manager to provide a map of all provision across Worcestershire.

Platform Housing Malvern are running their digital support virtually as Live Chat Online Help Centre.