Published: 12:26, 17 December 2019
| Updated: 12:47, 17 December 2019
The number of people claiming benefits in Kent has risen for the 16th month in a row, according to the most recent official statistics.
Figures released today show 31,465 people signed on in November, a 630 rise on the previous month.
Kent's only unitary authority is also the district which has seen the highest increase, with 125 more people claiming universal credit or job seeker's allowance in November compared to October.
However, despite the overall rise in Kent, there are two districts which have actually seen a fall in benefit claimant numbers. These are Dover, with a decrease of 45 and Sevenoaks with a slight decrease of 5.
Since November 2018, the number of people on benefits has risen by 10,785.
The rise in unemployment has also been seen nationally, with more than one million people recorded as claiming benefits in England last month, compared to less than 800,000 at the same time last year.
Besides many speculated reasons for the increase, Nomis, an Office for National Statistics provider, says the change to universal credit should be taken into account.
The official body said: "Under universal credit, a broader span of claimants are required to look for work than under jobseeker's allowance.
"As universal credit full service is rolled out in particular areas, the number of people recorded as being on the claimant count is therefore likely to rise."