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Unemployment drops by more than 10% since peak last May

Unemployment has dropped by 10.7% in Kent since the peak of the lockdown unemployment rise last May.

And last month (May) saw 4.9% fewer unemployment claims than in April this year, when there were 67,875 people on benefits, compared to 64,575 last month - a fall of 3,300.

There has been more than a 10% drop in unemployment claims since this time last year
There has been more than a 10% drop in unemployment claims since this time last year

As lockdown relaxed across the country, unemployment claims dropped relatively equally in each area of Kent.

Tonbridge and Malling saw the lowest drop of 195 while 440 came off of unemployment in Medway - where the population is much larger than other areas.

The second steepest drop was seen in Maidstone where 290 fewer people claimed unemployment benefits.

Looking at the data by population, the lowest rate of unemployment was seen in Sevenoaks at 2.8% or 3,025 claims.

Thanet has the highest rate of unemployment with 6.8% or 8,795 people in the area claiming benefits.


However, Thanet has seen the most people come off benefits since last May with 1,180 people from the area no longer claiming.

In the whole of Kent last May there were 72,375 people across the county claiming benefits, but by May this year, 7,800 fewer people were claiming.

Gravesham saw the least amount of people come off benefits in the last year, since Covid-19 hit the UK's economy.

The vast majority of the drop in claims in the county over the last year, came from men with 6,395 coming off benefits compared to 1,405 women.

Though this is good news, the recent government announcement stating restrictions will be delayed until July 19 coming as another hit to businesses across the county.

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Jo James
Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Jo James

There has been no additional financial support offered by the government for firms whose bottom lines will take a further hit as a result - while firms will be expected to pay a bigger chunk of furlough payments from next month before the scheme ends in September.

Jo James, chief executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: "Businesses will be disappointed by this setback to the reopening in England.

"This delay to the removal of restrictions will come as a hammer blow to those firms who must remain closed, and to those who continue to see their ability to trade severely restricted.

“The government must provide further cash grants, at least equivalent to levels provided during the first lockdown, and delay the tapering of government payments into the furlough scheme, planned for the start of July.

"The government should also consider extending the trade credit reinsurance scheme beyond the end of June to minimise possible disruptions in insurance coverage."

Businesses across the county have spoken to this struggle, including one of three directors of The Green Room in Earl Street, Maidstone, which is set to lose £500,000 because of the delayed easing of restrictions.

Saga cruise ships in Folkestone was also set to deploy 'contingency plans' when the easing of Covid restrictions were delayed, these included plans to operate for a shorter period and with fewer guests.

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