Data released this week by the Office for National Statistics shows that, in August 2016, Bexley’s active benefit claimant count (those in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit) climbed to over 2,000 for the first time since September 2015.
Source: ONS – Claimant Count and Jobseeker’s Allowance data
This has resulted from an additional 65 active benefit claimants in August compared to July, bringing the total up to 2,025.
Historically there has been an increase in the active benefit claimant count in the July to August period as new claims continue following the end of the academic year and the start of the summer holiday period.
For the first time since the introduction of Universal Credit, Bexley saw an increase in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance – up 5 from July 2016.
This could be a result of parents making a claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance over the summer holiday while term-time employment is suspended. As they have children, they would currently be required to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance instead of Universal Credit.
August 2016 also marks the point at which over half of Bexley’s active benefit claimants aged 18 to 24 were in receipt of Universal Credit – 53% to be more precise.
If current Universal Credit claim trends continue, September 2016 could mark the month in which one in five of Bexley’s active benefit claimants aged 25 to 49 will be in receipt of the replacement for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Typically we see a decline in the active benefit claimant count in the August to September period as the summer holidays end, the new academic year starts and Christmas recruitment begins. This year may look different as those in receipt of Universal Credit may not be required to close their claim if they secure temporary Christmas recruitment. We’ll have to see what September brings.
The latest Bexley labour market profile is available from Nomis at: