LEEDS: In-work Universal Credit claimants more than double during pandemic, report claims
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According to documents set to go before regional council leaders next week, the number of UC claims by those in work is “133 per cent greater” than pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. It added that this number continued to rise during October and November 2021 by one per cent.
Despite this, however, the number of Universal Credit claimants overall continued to fall last month, but is still 42 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.
The number of online job postings also declined during December by 22 per cent in Leeds and 54 per cent in Kirklees. This was said to be due to the Omicron Covid variant, as hospitality, food, tourism and sales were the sectors most affected.
The consumer price index, which measures inflation, rose by 5.4 per cent during the 12 months to December. Governments typically aim for inflation to be two per cent per year.
The paper stated: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a central factor in the lives of the people of West Yorkshire.
“Particularly since the emergence of the Omicron variant at the end of 2021, there is an increased focus on the potential spread of the virus, the need to boost immunity through vaccination and to readopt some levels of restrictions to reduce close contact.
“At the time of writing in January 2022, West Yorkshire has experienced its highest numbers of Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, however hospital patients with Covid-19 remains below the peak in January 2021.
“Plan B restrictions introduced by the UK Government are in place (as of late January 2022), and this has impacted particularly on sectors such as hospitality and leisure. Uncertainty over the future direction of the pandemic and the need for further restrictions is critical to the economic recovery in West Yorkshire in 2022, alongside the wider factors of rising inflation, increases in energy costs and continued challenges around supply chains.”
The report will be discussed by members of West Yorkshire Combined Authority on Thursday, February 3.
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