Coronavirus impact: Extra 1000 Blackburn and Darwen young people claiming universal credit according to DWP

AN EXTRA thousand young people in Blackburn with Darwen are claiming Universal Credit due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures.

Department for Work and Pensions statistics show 3,000 people aged 16-24 in Blackburn with Darwen were on Universal Credit as of August 13.

This is more than 1,182 more than the 1,818 who were claiming in early March, before lockdown brought large parts of the economy to a halt.

Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said: “Every job lost is a tragedy and it is vital we do all we can to safeguard people’s livelihoods.

“We are in the midst of a jobs crisis right across the UK, but these figures show certain areas are more at risk than others.

She added: In the North West the number of people on Universal Credit was highest before the crisis have been particularly hard hit.

“The Government must adopt a more tailored approach now if we are to avoid further job losses.”

Meanwhile, organisations working with young people on the ground have also reacted to the findings.

Sam Ali, CEO of the Switch Youth Organisation said: “This pandemic has effected people in many ways, career prospects, businesses closing, just in general the prospects for young people have dipped massively.

“There are many reasons for the rise in youth unemployment and as I was saying months ago, youth organisations should have been able to stay open to support people through this.

“Where was the support from the government? We could have helped prevent this.”

However, Mr Ali advised young people to get in touch saying that his organisation will help support them.

Blackburn with Darwen’s young people joined 122,657 across the North West, up from 68,048 in March.

Across the country, the figure almost doubled to 938,000 over the first five months of the COVID-19 crisis, with every area seeing an increase in the number of young Universal Credit claimants.

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.

The figures include people in work and on a low income or those not working because of health or caring commitments, alongside those who are unemployed.

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.

Co-founder Ashley Seager said: “These statistics demonstrate the intergenerational unfairness in the Government’s approach to COVID-19.

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

He added: “After all, it is the younger generation who will have to pay the bill for protecting older generations for decades to come.”

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.”

The Westmorland Gazette | North Lancs