Surge in Universal Credit claimants shows pain of lockdown for Peterborough residents

The first figures revealing the coronavirus lockdown hit on the financial wellbeing of Peterborough residents have been released.

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 1:25 pm
Job Centre Plus. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) SUS-200204-154906001

As employers closed their doors and halted production from the lockdown on March 23, the number of people propelled to claim Universal Credit in the Peterborough local authority area soared by more than 25 per cent.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions, the number of claimants to April 9 reached 16,993 people - a rise of 25.1 per cent on the previous month when the number of claimants stood at 13,580.

A spokesperson sad the increase of 3,413 claimants was much larger than the single figure percentage increases see in previous months.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said: “The increase is the result of the lockdown.

“It is a mix of those people who lost their jobs, those who were furloughed and on reduced wages and the self-employed.

“The increase at the start of the lockdown was significant and the volume of applicants was something we had not seen before.

“It has slowed dramatically since.”

While the growth in claimant numbers in Peterborough has been painful, the rise has been greater across the East of England and nationally.

Regionally, the number of claimants has risen by 42.1 per cent to 337,203 people while England has seen a rise of 39.4 per cent to 3,614,264.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “Clearly these figures are behind on our current struggle but the impact of this global health emergency is now starting to show – and we’re doing everything we can to protect jobs and livelihoods.  

“What these statistics do highlight is that heading into the pandemic, we had built strong foundations in our economy, which will be crucial as we gradually move forward as the lockdown eases and look to bounce back.”