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

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 new claims for universal credit has fallen as the UK continues to recover from coronavirus.

Between June 11 and July 9, there were 187 new claims made in Havering, compared to 720 for the previous month (between May 14 and June 11).

Though these extra claims mean there are currently 21,019 people on universal credit in the borough, the lower rise 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 once the furlough scheme ends, Kay believes “things could be much worse if it wasn’t for the measures introduced by the government”.

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The department’s latest focus is on sector-based work academies, open to anyone in receipt of benefits who is ready to work.

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”.

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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.

Havering approached lockdown with the fewest number of claimants when compared to neighbouring areas; the 9,649 recorded on March 12 was lower than that of Barking and Dagenham (14,544), Redbridge (12,924) and Newham (19,806).

This trend continued throughout lockdown and into July.

Both Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge — with 28,778 and 29,700 claimants respectively — eclipse the 21,019 found in Havering, and Newham’s numbers are more than double (46,336).

This month’s rise — 187 new claimants — is notable when compared to jump of 5,061 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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