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Unemployment benefit claims nearly triple in Bucks

The figure now stands at over 15,000, compared to 5,500 two months ago.

Published by Dan Gooding at 5:39am 22nd June 2020. (Updated at 7:38am 22nd June 2020) 4-minute read.

Unemployment benefit claims nearly triple in Bucks

Thousands more people in Buckinghamshire are claiming unemployment benefits compared to two months ago, new figures reveal.

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 15,330 people were claiming out-of-work benefits in Buckinghamshire as of May 14, compared to just 5,570 in early March.

It means the share of the population signing on rose from 1.7% to 4.7%.

But Buckinghamshire's claimant rate was still slightly lower than the 5.4% across the South East as a whole.

Job / Office / Work
Thousands more are out of work compared to two months ago

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.

Across the UK, the claimant count more than doubled to 2.7 million on May 14, with separate ONS figures showing the figure stood at 2.8 million for the whole month – the highest since 1993.

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.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds is calling for an urgent "back to work budget" to support jobs through the economic crisis brought about by the coronavirus.

She said:

“The Government was too slow to recognise the scale of the health crisis from coronavirus and we are already paying the economic price.

“The window is closing to protect existing jobs and encourage firms to invest in creating new ones."

The ONS figures show the increase in the share of the population seeking help varied significantly around the country.

In Haringey, the figure shot up from 3.8% to 10.1%. At the other end of the spectrum, the Shetland Islands saw its claimant count rise by just 1.4 percentage points.

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 and people back to work.

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."

Help available

One Bucks man is looking to launch a CV service to support people who are unemployed. 

Cameron McKay decided to do this after seeing the rates of redundancy in the area:

"I am looking to launch a free CV writing and editing service on our local community. To look at what they've done, how they're done it and why. Then I will use my professional background to look at what they want to say and how they will say that. Then I will look to get their CV completed within 24 hours. 

"I decided to do this after I, like thousands of others was put into the furlough scheme however I have since been made redundant. I'm in a fortunate position that I don't need to get the first job but I've seen some great stories up and down the nation about people doing their bit. Ultimately I want to step up and do my bit, but use my professional skills to help people get these interviews and get these jobs.

"The competition for jobs in the UK will be massive with hundreds of applications for every job. So, it is of vital importance that your CV stands out and is correctly constructed to appear higher on the search function on traditional job boards."

Cameron has said for anyone interested in this service to contact him via email or Linkedin

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