Thousands more young people claim universal credit than before coronavirus pandemic

Thousands more young people in Leeds are claiming Universal Credit than before the coronavirus pandemic.

By Gemma Jimmison
Thursday, 17th September 2020, 4:45 pm
EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY MAY 06 File photo dated 17/02/16 of a Job Centre Plus in London. A third of Scotland’s workforce could be furloughed or made unemployed by the Covid-19 outbreak, a think tank has warned.
EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY MAY 06 File photo dated 17/02/16 of a Job Centre Plus in London. A third of Scotland’s workforce could be furloughed or made unemployed by the Covid-19 outbreak, a think tank has warned.

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.

Department for Work and Pensions statistics show 13,151 people aged 16-24 in Leeds were on Universal Credit as of August 13. This was nearly double the 6,675 who were claiming the benefit in early March, before the country went into lockdown.

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

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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.

Ashley Seager, co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, said: “These statistics demonstrate the intergenerational unfairness in the government’s approach to Covid.

“Our youngest workers are now starting to suffer a massive blow to their incomes and job prospects.”

He said the government urgently needs to boost funding for the £2 billion Kickstart scheme, which subsidises work placements for young people facing long-term unemployment.

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.”