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Unemployment rises for the 19th month in a row in Kent

The number of people claiming benefits shot up by 1,230 last month in Kent.

According to figures released today, 33,135 people in the county are receiving financial support from the government.

More people claiming out of work benefits in December
More people claiming out of work benefits in December

February was the 19th month in a row where the number of people claiming benefits increased.

It is also the second month in a row in which claims have increased in every area of Kent, the highest rise coming from Thanet with 200 more claims.

Sevenoaks had the lowest rise, with 40 more claimants than the previous month, closely followed by Folkestone and Hythe with 45 more claimants.

Medway continues to have the most people claiming benefits, with 5,800 people. The unitary authority has also seen the second highest rise in the county, with 170 more claimants than the previous month.

Some areas which usually have quite low rises in unemployment saw their claimant figures sky-rocket last month.

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In the last few months, Ashford has only seen a rise of about 30 claimants per month. But February figures show their numbers have risen by 105.

A similar story can be seen in Dover, where their figures have not risen by more than 35 over the last few months, but have shot up by 125 in the last month.

There are a number of reasons why claims go up or down and the office of National Statistics, says the slow introduction of universal credit has had an impact on numbers.

A spokesman 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."

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To read more about the previous month's benefits claims, click here.

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