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Kent unemployment benefits claims up by nearly 500 in May

By Lynn Cox

Nearly 500 more people started claiming unemployment benefits across Kent last month, figures reveal.

Dole queues in the county lengthened by 460 people in May, as more started to claim universal credit or jobseeker's allowance.

In April, 27,985 men and women were claiming the benefits, but in May that figure went up by 460 to 28,445.

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for Universal Credit
The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for Universal Credit

However, the rise is less than it was in March to April when 675 more people started to claims for the benefits.

Not a single area in Kent saw a fall in numbers over April or May.

Last month Swale saw the biggest rise in the numbers of people aged over 16 claiming in the county, with 55 more on the benefits.

In April, 2,895 people in Swale were on the benefits but that figure has now risen to 2,950.

More people in Gravesham also started claiming last month.

Claimant figures have gone up in Kent. Stock picture
Claimant figures have gone up in Kent. Stock picture

According to the Office of National Statistics, in April 1,920 were claiming but in May that figure rose to 1,970.

In Medway and in Folkestone and Hythe just 45 more people started signing on in those areas last in May.

Figures for Medway last month show 5,040 were on the benefits compared to 4,995 in April and in Folkestone and Hythe, in May 2,175 people were signing on compared to 2,130 in April.

In the Tonbridge and Malling area figures remained the same in May as they were in April with just 900 people claiming the benefits.

More people in Kent are signing on at the Job Centre. Stock Picture
More people in Kent are signing on at the Job Centre. Stock Picture

The numbers of people aged 16 to 24 claiming the benefits rose across the county by 60, with 6,070 people in that age bracket signing on in May.

However, there was a big rise in the numbers of people aged 25 to 49 who have started making claims across the county.

In April there were 14,440 in the age bracket claiming, but that figure has risen by 320 as in May 14,760 were signing on.

There was also a slight increase in the numbers of people over the age of 50 claiming across the county with 80 more people signing on.

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In April there were 7,535 people aged over 50 claiming, but in May that figure rose to 7,615.

The latest figures come less than six months after the government's rolled out universal credit system in Kent, however, the Department of Work and Pensions, (DWP) is still moving all remaining existing benefit claimants to the universal credit full service and this work only started at the beginning of this year.

Under universal credit a broader span of claimants are required to look for work than under jobseeker's allowance.

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