Number of people claiming unemployment benefits across Burnley and Pendle rises sharply

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Burnley and Pendle rose by 2,395 last month.

A total of 4,060 people in Burnley claimed unemployment benefits in April, up from 2,910 in March
A total of 4,060 people in Burnley claimed unemployment benefits in April, up from 2,910 in March

Unemployment statistics released by the Office for National Statistics show a total of 7,335 people across the two boroughs claimed either Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance in April.

Regional analysis carried out by the Centre for Cities research unit placed Burnley and Pendle above the national claimant count average of 5.1%, with 6.7% of the population – those aged between 16 and 64 – claiming. This was 2.2 percentage points up on the previous month.

In Burnley alone, the number of people claiming in April stood at 4,060, up from 2,910 in March – a 40% increase compared to Pendle's 60% rise.

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham said the Covid-19 pandemic had hit the area hard, but he was working to ensure the town was in the best possible position to bounce back.

“The Government support put in place so far has saved thousands of local jobs and businesses but it is clear from these latest figures, showing unemployment rising sharply, that the coronavirus pandemic has hit our country and borough hard.

"It is too early to know the full repercussions of Covid-19 or when a full recovery might happen but I am working with the Government to make sure we have the measures in place to give us the best chance of a sharp rebound when the time comes.

“I also want to thank the DWP staff who have been working incredibly hard to make sure all those who have been impacted are able to get the support they need.”

Burnley Council leader Charlie Briggs said his heart went out to all residents who had lost their jobs, and implored the Government to carry on providing essential financial support.

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"Sadly this is a national trend as a result of the widespread negative impact the coronavirus epidemic is having across the country. We are seeing the stark impact of the virus on people's lives. This is a national emergency and it's vital that the Government continues to provide essential financial support to businesses through its grant and other support programmes to help them get through this emergency and out the other side.

"We are working closely with the Department of Work and Pensions, through the Lancashire Resilience Forum Recovery Group, to ensure that claimants receive relevant support and are putting in place a redundancy response package.

“It should also be noted that when Centre for Cities says 'Burnley' it includes an area covering both Burnley and Pendle. The report shows the two boroughs sit in the middle of the range for increases in claimant count. Between March and April 2020 the claimant count increased by 68% in England, by 40% in Burnley and by 60% in Pendle.

"Either way, my heart goes out to any resident who has lost their job as a result of this pandemic.

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“Burnley has a very high proportion of people employed in manufacturing (17.9% of all jobs) and retail, accommodation and food services (25%) - these are all businesses that were most affected by the lockdown measures.

"We are however starting to see some manufacturing businesses, including large local employers, starting to resume work and hopefully in June there may be a gradual reopening of some retail businesses."

These ONS numbers show the impact the first few weeks of lockdown have had on the jobs sector

A total of 2.1 million people in the UK filed a claim for either Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance in April, a rise of approximately 850,000 compared to March.

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The Centre for Cities analysis, which looks at the UK’s 63 largest cities and towns, shows those in the North and Midlands have been hardest hit, with no city or town in the South of England ranking among the top 10 with the largest increases.

People claiming unemployment benefits has increased the most in Blackpool, Liverpool, Hull, Belfast and Manchester.