Gloucestershire unemployed benefits more than double in last year
By Rob Freeman | 12th August 2020
The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits across Gloucestershire has more than doubled in the last year.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions put the alternative claimant count - a tally which only includes those claiming Jobseeker's Allowance or Universal Credit conditional on searching for work - in the county at 19,318 in July.
That is a rise of 11,580 in the last year with 3,347 aged 18-24 - a rise of 2,118.
The Gloucester City Council area has the largest number of unemployed with 5,012 - a rise of 2,714 - with 938 of them aged between 18 and 24.
In Cheltenham, the figure rose by 2,381 to 3,847 (652 from 18-24) and in Tewkesbury by 1,594 to 2,494 (up 266 between 18 and 24).
Stroud saw its number of claimants rise by 1,932 to 3,017 (with 497 from 18-24) and in the Forest of Dean it was up by 1,487 to 2,641 (476 aged 18 to 24).
And in the Cotswolds, the figure was 2,307 - up 1,452 - with 387 claimants aged between 18 and 24.
Universal Credit claims were also up in July, rising by 800 across the country to 43,354.
Gloucester again saw the largest rise, up 306 (2,7 per cent) from June 11 to July 9 to 11,536, followed closely by Cheltenham - up 190 (2.3 per cent) to 8.483.
The Cotswolds also saw a rise in excess of two per cent, up 108 to 5,050.
The smallest rise came in the Forest of Dean with 23 new claimants, a rise of 0.4 per cent to 5,963.
Stroud saw a rise of 89 (1.3 per cent) to 6,991 with Tewkesbury up 84 (1.5 per cent) to 5,731.
Universal Credit includes Jobseeker's Allowance and other benefits, including Child Tax Credit and Income Support, in one single payment.
Across the UK, the number of claimants reached 5,551, 559 - up more than 120,000.
Minister of Employment Mims Davies MP said: "The figures show more of the impact the virus is having on our labour market and many people will be understandably concerned about the future - which is why we've set out our Plan for Jobs, to protect, create and support jobs as we build back our economy."
Gloucester MP Richard Graham has labelled jobs the greatest issue facing the economic recovery and has launched the Gloucestershire Jobs, Skills & Apprenticeships LiftOff event at Kingsholm on September 11.
Mr Graham said, "This is a call to arms across the county. We need this LiftOff for the county to come together, to show case what we have available in help for businesses as well as jobs, skills training and apprenticeships & attract small and big employers, as well as job seekers.
"We've been here before in 2008-09, but the context is very different and the scale of the challenge for businesses almost certainly greater."
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