MP Calls For Action After Local Claimant Rate Rises By 178%

Rupa Huq says chancellor must do something urgently particularly for the young

Rupa Huq MP with Jobcentre staff during a visit in October

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Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq has called upon the Chancellor to take “urgent action” to save livelihoods and prevent a rise in poverty after it emerged that the number of benefits claimants in her constituency has increased by 178% in a year.

The number of 16-24 year-olds claiming unemployment related benefits in Ealing Central and Acton has risen by 210% since November 2019

Data published by the House of Commons Library this week revealed that there were 7,375 people claiming unemployment related benefits this November - equivalent to 8.7% of the population aged 16-64. This figure is up by 4,720 since November 2019.

The claimant rate in Ealing Central and Acton is higher than the national equivalent, which currently stands at 6.3%. Meanwhile redundancies in the UK hit a record 370,000 in the three months to October according to the Office for National Statistics.


Source: ONS, via Nomis

Dr Huq blames Rishi Sunak for exacerbating the spiralling rate of job losses and business closures. She said, “It’s no coincidence that claimant rates rocketed when the clock was ticking down to the Chancellor’s many furlough cliff edges, with rising employer contributions putting businesses under pressure.

“Sunak’s irresponsible decisions haven’t just cost jobs – they’ve left us in the worst recession of any major economy. It was his decision to threaten the end of the furlough scheme time and again, and his decision to wait until the last possible minute to change course. He has let down working people in my constituency.”

She added that job losses were hitting young people particularly hard. There were 1,055 claimants aged 18-24 in November compared to 340 in November 2019, an increase of 210%.

job losses were hitting young people particularly hard
Source: ONS, via Nomis

“Talented young people have been languishing in limbo through no fault of their own for months. This could have a significant impact on life chances for the most disadvantaged. The Government has wasted billions on contracts for cronies - it can and must do more to stimulate growth so that youngsters can get a foothold in the jobs market.

“Today’s young people must not be forgotten about, or treated as collateral damage. The Government has a moral duty to ensure they do not become a lost generation on its watch.”

The latest figures have sparked fears that UK deprivation levels could reach a scale unseen in generations. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation [JRF] has already predicted that 2million people will be pushed into poverty as a result of the UK’s Covid-driven recession.

Dr Huq said reforms to the UK’s social security system are needed to stem rising levels of poverty. The MP, who spoke on Wednesday at the launch of a report on the economic impact of the pandemic on single parents, said the Government must maintain the £20 uplift in Universal Credit, end the 5-week wait for UC, and suspend the benefit cap.

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December 19, 2020

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