Furloughed staff see big rise in claims - The Worcester Observer

Furloughed staff see big rise in claims

Worcester Editorial 19th Jun, 2020   0

THE number of people claiming government benefit in Worcester – including those on furlough and those self employed – has soared by 28.6 per cent – 1,747 people – to 7,853 in just one month.

The figures, published by the Department of Work and Pensions, put the city more than six percentage points higher than the regional average of 22.2 per cent and more than three percentage points higher than the national average.

Duncan Campbell from the DWP said the city and the county at large had been disproportionately hit due to its reliance on the hospitality and tourism industries but added that before Covid-19 it had extremely high employment levels.

He added that it was simply unknown how many of those furloughed and working for themselves would return to employment.

“The 80 per cent of salary scheme runs out at the end of August and then reduces to a lower percentage point and that will be the crunch point,” he said.

Elsewhere in the county Redditch has also suffered, see its claimants rise between April 9 and May 14 by 1,731 to 7,845, and increase of 28.3 per cent.

Residents of Wychavon have also been hit, rising by 1,660 to 7,788 – a 27.1 per cent increase in claimants.

Malvern saw an increase of 849, a rise of 25.2 per cent to 4,222 while Bromsgrove suffered a 22.4 per cent increase of 957 to 5,227.

Mr Campbell added that despite the high figures employers were starting to recruit again with vacancies in particular coming in for the HS2 terminal at Curzon Street in Birmingham, the Commonwealth Games and for the 2021 national census.

A major fibre delivery company was also recruiting while local farmers would also be requiring seasonal workers.

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