Universal Credit launch pushes up Grantham claimant count

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The number of people claiming benefits at Grantham Jobcentre has increased, despite their being fewer jobless across South Kesteven.

The government recorded 1,165 benefit claimants in the district in January compared with 1,015 last month. In Grantham, the town had 750 claimants this month, compared with 670 in December.

Stuart Roberts, employer relationships lead at Boston job centre told the Journal that South Kesteven has now gone “full service” with Universal Credit.

This means different benefits were being rolled into one and the job centres were helping claimants needing other benefits like housing benefit and tax credits. More people were being helped overall but actual jobless would be fewer in number, though he had no figures on them.

Much publicised problems with people waiting for Universal Credit payments have been resolved with a government programme to allow some advance payments of the benefit.

Mr Roberts said companies moving into the district were creating jobs. Grantham businesses seeking staff included Oldrids, the NHS, Dunelm, and PGL. HGV driving posts and apprenticeships were also available.

He added: “There’s a lot of different opportunities out there.”

l Nationally, some 1.44 million people were reported as unemployed, a drop of 3,000, with the 4.3 per cent rate a four-decade low.