Benefits claims still more than DOUBLE pre-Covid levels in parts of UK

Benefits claims are still more than DOUBLE pre-Covid levels in parts of Britain as people struggle to get by without handouts

  • Some parts of UK still have double number of benefits claimants than pre-Covid 
  • Brent North and East Ham have twice as many claimants than before pandemic
  • Birmingham Ladywood had the highest total number of claimants with 11,420

Some parts of Britain still have double the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits than before the Covid crisis, a new analysis has revealed.

The London constituencies of Brent North and East Ham both had twice as many claimants last month than before the pandemic.

The figures also revealed Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s seat of South West Surrey had 1,190 claimants in October – a 95 per cent increase since March 2020.

And Surrey Heath, the constituency represented by Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove, had 1,395 claimaints last month – a 92 per cent increase since the start of the Covid crisis.

According to the analysis by the House of Commons Library – based on data from the Office for National Statistics – Harrow East, West Ham, Enfield Southgate, North East Hampshire, Spelthorne, Woking, Ilford South and Tottenham have all experienced an increase in claimants of 80 per cent or above since March 2020.

Meanwhile, Birmingham Ladywood had the highest number of claimants in October out of all 650 parliamentary constituencies with 11,420 claimants.

This was followed by West Ham (8,515), Tottenham (8,265), Birmingham Hodge Hill (8,050), Brent Central (7,995), East Ham (7,195), Birmingham Perry Barr (7,170), Bradford West (7,150), Leeds Central (6,875) and Birmingham Hall Green (6,840).

Some parts of Britain still have double the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits than before the Covid crisis

Birmingham Ladywood, Birmingham Hodge Hill, Birmingham Erdington, Birmingham Perry Barr and Bradford West all had a claimant rate above nine per cent in October

The London constituencies of Brent North and East Ham both had twice as many claimants last month than before the pandemic

Following the start of the pandemic, the claimant count more than doubled while the rise in unemployment was much smaller

By comparison, Na h-Eileanan an Iar in Scotland had just 295 claimants in October, with Orkney and Shetland (440) having the second-least, followed by Westmorland and Lonsdale (665), Dwyfor Meirionnydd (680), and York Outer (690).

Na h-Eileanan an Iar also had the biggest fall in the number of claimants compared to March 2020, with a 37 per cent decrease.

Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross (-26 per cent), Easington (-22 per cent), Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock (-22 per cent), Great Yarmouth (-21 per cent), Paisley and Renfrewshire South (-21 per cent), Inverclyde (-21 per cent), Dumfries and Galloway (-21 per cent), Louth and Horncastle (-21 per cent), and North Ayrshire and Arran (-20 per cent) all saw a fall of a fifth or more in the number of claimants in October, when compared to March 2020.

Birmingham Ladywood, Birmingham Hodge Hill, Birmingham Erdington, Birmingham Perry Barr and Bradford West all had a claimant rate above nine per cent in October.

York Outer (1.2 per cent), West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (1.3 per cent), North Somerset (1.4 per cent), and Westmorland and Lonsdale (1.4 per cent) had the lowest claimant rate last month.

In total, across the UK the unadjusted claimant count was 1.54 million in October.

This was 3,300 more than the month before and 304,500 more than in March 2020.

The House of Commons Library noted how, following the start of the pandemic, the claimant count more than doubled while the rise in unemployment was much smaller.

‘This was partly due to changes in Universal Credit eligibility, and partly due to people being temporarily away from work or earning less because of the pandemic,’ the analysis said.

‘Since the beginning of 2021, both measures have decreased, with the claimant count decreasing more rapidly than the unemployment rate.

‘The unemployment rate is now back to pre-pandemic levels, while the claimant rate continues to be higher.’

It was suggested this difference was because people who do not classify themselves as being unemployed may be claiming unemployment-related benefits.

The analysis added: ‘This may be because they have a job but were temporarily away from work due to the pandemic; they are in employment but are also able to claim unemployment benefits… they are temporarily inactive and so are not actively looking for work.’

South West Surrey (125 per cent), Westminster North (92 per cent), Brent North (90 per cent), Windsor (90 per cent), Leyton and Wanstead (85 per cent), and the Cities of London and Westminster (85 per cent) have all experienced the biggest rise in young claimants – those aged between 18 to 24 – since March 2020.

Birmingham Ladywood had the highest number of 18 to 24-year-old claimants (1,840) – an increase of 19 per cent since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Bimingham Hodge Hill, Bradford West, Bradford East, Leeds Central, Birmingham Erdington, and West Ham also all had more than 1,200 young claimants in October.

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