Huge rise in Scots claiming unemployment benefit

Huge rise in Scots claiming unemployment benefit

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The latest figures on the labour market point to a huge increase in people claiming unemployment benefit in Scotland.

Across the UK in April, claimants went up by 856,500, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates.

Its figures suggest the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Scotland increased by 66.9% – which would be up about 75,000 to 188,000.

The April figures, which come from the UK Labour Force survey, are estimates.

The official figures only go up to the end of March, just after coronavirus lockdown began.

The ONS said enhancements to Universal Credit as part of the UK government’s response to Covid-19 meant that an increasing number of people became eligible for unemployment-related benefit support, although still employed.

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This means changes in the Claimant Count will not be due wholly to changes in the number of people who are unemployed.

In April, which was the first full month of lockdown, figures showed the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the UK soared to 2.1 million.

They also revealed a sharp fall in hours worked and job vacancies.

The figures do not capture the impact of 7.5 million people across the UK on furlough, and millions of self-employed people whose income has been severely hit.

These estimated figures from the Office for National Statistics show that Scotland’s claimant count went up by 66.9% in April with the UK Claimant Count level increasing by 69.1%.

Huge rise in people claiming unemployment benefit
The official Labour Market statistics only cover the three months to the end of March and do not yet reflect the “unprecedented impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish government said.

The latest official figures for Scotland cover January and February, when the jobs market was improving, as well as March.

The lockdown, which saw about a quarter of firms stop trading, was officially introduced on 23 March so its full impact is not seen in the statistics.

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