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Unemployment Kent: Universal credit increases number of claimants in November

By Chris Price

The number of people on unemployment benefits increased across Kent in November, official figures show.

There were 180 more people claiming, bringing the county’s total to 19,340, according to the Office for National Statistics.

However, this does not necessarily mean dole queues got longer.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Kent has risen
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Kent has risen

The figures are being skewed by the rollout of universal credit, which pays some people who are in work.

The full version of the service has been operating in Dover since May and went live in Thanet in September.

Both recorded the largest increases in their claimant count in Kent, up 115 to 3,070 in Thanet and up 80 to 1,870 in Dover.

By contrast, the rest of the county was relatively stable last month, with the next largest rise of 25 coming in Tunbridge Wells, which has Kent’s second lowest total of 650.

Medway recorded the largest fall, down 50 to 3,275.

Universal credit has caused large increases in the claimant count in areas where it is being fully rolled out
Universal credit has caused large increases in the claimant count in areas where it is being fully rolled out

Full-service universal credit began operating in Swale earlier this month.

In November its claimant count fell by five to 2,010.

For the three months to October, the highest employment rate in the UK was in the South East at 79.7%, with 4.62 million in work, up 16,000.

The region also had the lowest unemployment rate in the county at 3%, with the number of people out of a job down 8,000 to 145,000.

Nationally, there were 1.43 million unemployed people, down 26,000 on May to July.

The unemployment rate was 4.3%, still the joint lowest since 1975.

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