Number of Universal Credit claimants in Havering falls for first time since start of coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 September 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 Universal Credit claimants in Havering has fallen for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), there were 20,965 claimants in the borough as of August 13, down from 21,019 recorded on July 9.

This contrasts against the national picture, which indicates that 19,210 fresh claims were made across the country during the last month.

With the end of the furlough scheme quickly approaching, Romford-based DWP customer service leader Kay Pegler says it’s “hard to predict” what will happen, but that the department will be as prepared as possible.

One way in which the DWP is readying itself for a potential surge in claims come the end of October is by recruiting for work coaches, with 698 permanent and temporary vacancies for east London scheduled to be advertised imminently.

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Current and former recipients of Universal Credit are encouraged to apply, said Kay, who believes their personal experience will be hugely beneficial to a role specifically designed to support people back into work.

This recruitment drive for work coaches is part of a nationwide effort, with the department set to add another 4,500 coaches (to the existing 13,500) by the end of next month.

The DWP intends to double the total number — to 27,000 — by recruiting a further 9,000 coaches by March 2021.

Employment minister Mims Davies said: “Getting Britain back into work is key to our national recovery and our DWP work coaches are on the front line of this effort. Boosting their numbers means we can build back stronger.

“Our work coaches not only deliver financial support to millions of claimants across the country, but take time to listen, encourage, advise, and ensure everyone has access to the best support available, helping those facing a tough time get back on their feet sooner.”

In terms of other local opporunities, vacancies are now live for Royal Mail Christmas casual workers, with 174 workers sought in Romford Mail Centre.

Kay also guided job seekers to the @jcpineastlondon Twitter page which, at 11am every Friday, identifies employers recruiting in critical industries across east London.

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