Unemployment benefits

  1. Your Call Is Important to Us

    Video content

    Video caption: New universal credit claimants tell us about their lives on hold.

    Documentary following the lives of just a few of the millions of new benefits claimants who are out of work because of coronavirus.

  2. Cornwall working age population on benefits hits 6%

    Tamsin Melville

    Political Reporter, BBC Radio Cornwall

    The number of people claiming benefits in Cornwall because of losing their job has gone up to 20,500 - just over 6% of the working age population.

    A year ago the number of benefit claimants was just 7,200.

    In total, 730,000 jobs have been lost in the UK since the start of the coronavirus crisis in March.

    However, the UK unemployment rate has been estimated at 3.9%, largely unchanged on the year and the previous quarter, as millions remained on the government-backed furlough scheme.

    But rural areas and tourism businesses are among the hardest hit.

    We are only just seeing these latest statistics, but, looking at benefits previously, Cornwall Council has said that it was predominantly in the rural parts of Cornwall that were experiencing the largest increases in people on universal credit, and particularly in areas with a strong reliance on tourism.

    So, Newquay has been among the worst affected areas in England.

    Universal credit website
  3. Claimants 'in dire straits' as jobless numbers double

    People who've lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic are being left "in dire straits" according to Carlisle and Eden Citizens Advice.

    Staff there say the Universal Credit system doesn't provide enough income for some families, and a wait of up to five weeks for the first payment is unacceptable.

    Universal Credit screen grab

    Between Februrary and May the number of people looking for work and claiming benefits in the county more than doubled to fourteen and a half thousand.

    The Treasury has previously described its package of support during the pandemic as "generous and wide ranging".

    Andy Auld is from Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden says people from many different professions are asking for help, including manufacturing, the self employed and care homes.

    Quote Message: The biggest numbers are coming from retail and tourism, which is unsurprising given the nature of Cumbria." from Andy Auld
    Andy Auld
  4. Number of Londoners claiming benefits doubles in lockdown

    Sam Francis

    BBC News, London


    The number of Londoners claiming some form of unemployment benefit has more than doubled since the start of lockdown.

    In May, 492,800 Londoners claimed unemployment benefits, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    This means one in 10 Londoners now receive money from the government while they look for work.

    Before strict guidelines restricting people's movements and requiring many business to close were introduced in March, the number of unemployed benefit claimants in London was 185,000.

    Not all people claiming benefits will be unemployed - though there is a large degree of overlap.

    People who are not claimants can appear among the unemployed if they are not entitled to unemployment-related benefits - such as disabled people who cannot work.

    These figures will also include some workers who are in employment but with wages so low they qualify for extra financial help. The furloughing scheme, which cuts wages for workers by 20%, has hit this group hard.

  5. Unemployment has 'doubled' during lockdown

    Unemployment in Guernsey has "doubled" over the course of the lockdown, States chief executive Paul Whitfield said.

    Mr Whitfield said there had been about 400 new unemployment claims in this period.

    Payments of unemployment benefit have risen by about 310%, he added.

    He said: "Normally we enjoy incredibly low figures, so you can see that leap is very telling."

    However, Mr Whitfield emphasised there had been a "tail off" of new claims recently, as business had started to reopen.