Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley is calling on the UK Government to do more to support people who have lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Statistics published by the House of Commons Library last week have highlighted that almost 1,000 more people in Lanark and Hamilton East are out of work and claiming benefits than before the pandemic.
In August 2021, 3,230 people were claiming Universal Credit or Jobseekers Allowance in the constituency – 975 higher than in March 2020.
Worryingly, 610 of those were aged 18-24. This represents 8.3 per cent of the population aged 18-24 – 1.5 per cent higher than the UK average.
Concerns have previously been raised that this number could increases dramatically when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.
Recently, the number of people coming off furlough and returning to work has slowed down prompting fears that there may not be jobs left for those still on furlough to return to.
Key findings from the Commons Library briefing paper:
There were 3,230 actual claimants in Lanark and Hamilton East constituency in August 2021, which was 5.3% of the population aged 16-64. The equivalent UK claimant rate was 5.2%.
This was 45 lower than July 2021 and 975 higher than March 2020, before the first UK lockdown began. Note the majority of this increase happened in March-May 2020 at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
There were 610 claimants aged 18-24 in August 2021, 10 lower than July 2021 and 180 higher than March 2020. This was 8.3% of the population aged 18-24. The equivalent UK claimant rate was 6.8%.
This includes those who were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, or were claiming Universal Credit and are required to seek work. Unlike the alternative count (see below) the unadjusted count is not adjusted to take into account the roll-out of Universal Credit.
Commenting, Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley said:
“Although it is positive that there was a small reduction in the number of people out of work last month, it is still deeply concerning that nearly 1,000 extra people in Lanark and Hamilton East are claiming Universal Credit or Jobseekers Allowance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“With furlough set to end next month, I am concerned that more people could soon find themselves out of work and seeking support from the government than we have seen at any time during the pandemic.
“This is not only a worry for the hard-working people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own but it will also impact the economic recovery both locally and nationally.
“Right now, these people need the UK Government to step up to the plate and show real leadership by bringing forward proposals to help more people back into work and boost the economic recovery but instead they are faced with an end to furlough and a cut to Universal Credit.”