Unemployment in Great Yarmouth up taking universal credit into account

Jobcentre Plus. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Jobcentre Plus. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Employment figures released last week have been taken to task by the constituency's former MP.

Tony Wright, who was Labour MP for Great Yarmouth, says figures issued by the Job Centre last week create a false picture of the labour market in the constituency.

Statistics published last week reported the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance at Yarmouth's Job Centre but did not take into account those claiming through the new universal credit system.

Mr Wright said: 'It is clearly a false figure. The claim that unemployment had fallen by a massive 57pc over the past 12 months is far from the true situation.'

The Job Centre's statistics showed those claiming job seeker's allowance had decreased from 1,460 in October 2015, to 620 this year.

However, figures released by the Office of National Statistics that do take universal credit into account reveal the number of people that claimed unemployment benefits in October to be 1,860 - a 27pc rise from October 2015.

This also means the number of people looking for work saw a 15pc increase last month - despite a decline in the number of those claiming jobseeker's allowance.

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In September, 1,635 people were out of work, taking universal credit claimants into consideration. This is compared to the 12.1pc drop in the number of JSA claimants, from 705 to 620.

The figures also revealed the number of people aged 16 to 24 out of work is 380 - compared to the 90 in this age group claiming JSA.

Stephen Lankester, district operations leader for the DWP acknowledged the introduction of universal credit has made it more difficult to monitor figures. He said incorporating universal credit into future statistics is 'something we are looking at'.