Universal Credit: number of claimants rises in every Greater Manchester borough

Claimants of the all-in-one benefit in the region have been consistently on the increase month-by-month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

The number of people claiming Universal Credit (UC) has gone up in all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester again.

The claimant count has consistently been going up month-by-month since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last March and the latest figures show it is on the increase once more.

However, this is not an indication that unemployment rates are also rising, as many claimants use UC to top up their income while in work.

What does the data show?

The number of people claiming Universal Credit has gone up in all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester again.

Claimants of the all-in-one benefit in the region have been consistently on the increase month by month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

Now, latest figures show the number of people receiving Universal Credit (UC) in all 10 boroughs is still going up. This is not an indication that unemployment rates are also rising, though, as many claimants use UC to top up their income while in work.

The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show the highest increase in claimant numbers occurred, unsurprisingly, in Manchester – the largest of the 10 boroughs.

In Manchester, there were 77,914 claimants in August 2021. By September that had risen by 521 to 78,435 people.

The next highest increase came in Bolton – which went from 32,316 claimants in August to 32,637 the following month.

Rochdale had an increase of 267 people claiming UC – from 27,607 in August up to 27,874 in September.

Oldham had the next highest increase in claimant numbers – with 238 more people claiming UC in September than had done the previous month – going from 33,590 in August to 33,828 in September.

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Next comes Wigan – going from 31,205 claimants in August to 31,351 in September.

Stockport saw 21,104 people claiming UC in August to 21,245 a month later.

Bury had 17,868 people claiming the all-in-one benefit in August 2021, rising to 18,000 by September 2021.

Salford saw a 97 person increase in the number of UC claimants – going from 31,790 in August to 31,887 in September.

Tameside saw an increase of 67 claimants from 25,894 in August to 25,961 in September.

Finally, it’s Trafford with the lowest increase in the number of people receiving Universal Credit. The borough saw just 25 new sign-ons, going from 16,653 people in August to 16,678 a month later.

What is the picture in the North West?

The DWP figures also show that in August 2021 there were 741,926 people claiming Universal Credit across the North West of England. By September, that had risen to 746,438.

However, employment rates are up across the North West – with 12,000 more people in work in this financial quarter of the year compared to the last – with 73.6pc of the area’s 16 to 64 year olds in work.

What have politicians said?

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “With unemployment falling once again, and another record rise in the number of workers on employer payrolls, it’s clear our plan to create, support and protect jobs is working.

“As we enter the next phase of recovery, the £500m boost to our Plan for Jobs will continue to deliver more skills and opportunities for people up and down the country whilst crucially helping to fill vacancies across growing sectors as we push to build back better.”

Minister for Welfare Delivery David Rutley said: “Universal Credit is a safety net for those most in need. With over a million vacancies available, it offers personal employment support through our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs, encouraging people into work and helping those in employment further their careers and gain greater financial independence.”