Universal Credit claims up 99 per cent in lockdown

UNIVERSAL Credit claimants in Rotherham increased by 65 per cent in April and a further 15 per cent in May, a report has found.

A report to Rotherham Council into the borough’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic found that in February, 5,940 residents in the borough claimed Universal Credit, which jumped to 11,855 by May – an increase of 99 per cent.

The council paid local businesses a total of £46m in government support grants, including £2,479,000 available as a local discretionary scheme – £2,467,837 of which was paid out.

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The increase in claimants as a proportion of residents aged 16-64 is “broadly in line, though slightly higher”, than the regional and national trend.

The report, to be heard by the council’s improving places select commission today, states: “The economic impact of the Covid pandemic is severe and is likely to persist for some time.

“Although the government has introduced a wide range of measures to support the economy it seems likely that the full impact of business failures and redundancies has not yet been felt."