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Coronavirus: Number of Universal Credit claimants rises once again in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 15:00 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:13 22 October 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 Barking and Dagenham has risen by just under 1.5 per cent over the past month, according to the latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

There were 29,601 people receiving the benefit as of September 10, up 436 from the August 13 figure of 29,165.

This jump is slightly greater than the 387 new claimants that registered between July and August.

The percentage increase seen in the borough fell below the 3 pc average recorded for London during the same period.

DWP senior partnership manager Steve Hanshaw says the department is working hard behind the scenes to create avenues for people to get back into work: “We have been using the sector-based work academies to try and actively upskill people, and last week was the first full week of recruiting for the Kickstart programme. Already there’s been a lot of interest, and I think there will be real mileage behind the scheme.”

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Sector-based work academies are open to anyone in receipt of benefits who is ready to work; the idea is that the DWP works with prospective employers to tailor a programme suited to their needs, with anyone enrolled guaranteed a job interview at the end of the placement.

There are a number of ongoing sector-based work academies across Barking and Dagenham, including with UPS and Eddie Stobart, who are working with Barking Adult College and CONEL respectively to help recruit warehouse operatives and forklift drivers across the borough. Those interested are asked to contact Barking job centre plus for further information.

The Kickstart programme — first reported by the Post in July as part of chancellor Rishi’s Sunak economic plan — is a scheme for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit at high risk long-term unemployment.

It will see funding provided for work placements of 25 hours per week paid at the national minimum wage.

As Steve highlights, recruiting for this programme has only just started, with the hope that many people in this demographic will find work in this way.

Job seekers are also encouraged to visit the @jcpineastlondon Twitter page from 11am every Friday to discover which employers are recruiting across east London.


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