Young adults in Northumberland swell benefit claims

Hundreds more young people in Northumberland are claiming Universal Credit than before the coronavirus pandemic, new figures reveal.

By Tommy Lumby
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 11:10 am
An extra 1,800 young adults in Northumberland are claiming Universal Credit
An extra 1,800 young adults in Northumberland are claiming Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions statistics show 4,622 people aged between 16 and 24 in the area were on Universal Credit as of August 13.

This was 1,818 more than the 4,804 who were claiming the benefit in early March, before the country went into lockdown, bringing large parts of the economy to a halt.

The figures include people in work and on a low income or those not working because of health or caring commitments.

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The county’s young people joined the ranks of 49,869 others in the age group across the North East who were seeking support in August – up from 31,947 in March.

Across Great Britain, the figure almost doubled to 938,000 over the first five months of the Covid-19 crisis.

The Intergenerational Foundation charity says younger people will be left to pay the bill for protecting older generations for decades to come after suffering a “massive blow” to their income and job prospects.

Separate Office for National Statistics figures show rising unemployment has hit young people the hardest, with the number of 16 to 24-year-olds in employment across the UK dropping by more than 150,000 in the three months to July.

The Intergenerational Foundation charity says younger people will be left to pay the bill for protecting older generations for decades to come after suffering a “massive blow” to their income and job prospects.

It says the Government urgently needs to boost funding for the £2bn Kickstart scheme, which subsidises work placements for young people facing long-term unemployment, while encouraging older people to shield and re-opening the economy as quickly as possible.

Ashley Seager, co-founder of the group, said: “These statistics demonstrate the intergenerational unfairness in the Government's approach to Covid. It is the younger generation who will have to pay the bill for protecting older generations for decades to come."

Minister for employment Mims Davies said: “We recognise that the pandemic has been difficult for many people who are worried about their incomes and that’s why our £30 billion plan for jobs is aimed at protecting, supporting and creating jobs and it’s welcome news that there is some recovery in vacancies.”