Thousands more people across East Riding claiming unemployment benefits

Thousands more residents in East Yorkshire are claiming unemployment benefits compared to two months ago, new figures reveal.

Saturday, 20th June 2020, 10:00 am
Office for National Statistics data shows 9,470 people were claiming out-of-work benefits in the East Riding of Yorkshire as of May 14. Photo: PA Images

The Labour Party and charities are calling for more support to stop people being pulled into poverty by the Covid-19 pandemic, after the number of claims more than doubled since the UK went into lockdown.

Office for National Statistics data shows 9,470 people were claiming out-of-work benefits in the East Riding as of May 14, compared to just 4,605 in early March.

It means the share of the population signing on rose from 2.3% to 4.8%.

But the East Riding’s claimant rate was still lower than the 6.7% across Yorkshire and the Humber as a whole.

The ONS figures count those aged 16 to 64 who are on Jobseekers Allowance and some Universal Credit claimants, with numbers rounded to the nearest five.

The ONS cautioned that changes to Universal Credit in response to the virus mean more people could get unemployment-related benefits while still being employed, which could affect the figures.

Anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said the Government should particularly focus on creating jobs in places that have seen the biggest increases in unemployment, and give people opportunities to gain new skills.

Dave Innes, head of economics at the foundation, said: “Alongside this, the Government should also boost benefits so that people are not pulled into poverty if they lose their jobs.”

Asked on Sky News about possible measures in an emergency budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the priority was to drive the recovery by getting businesses open.

He added: “We’ve got to look forward and we set out an ambitious agenda at budget as well about investing in our regions, making sure we drive growth and productivity through infrastructure investment.”