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Moray bucks benefits trend as Universal Credit claims fall


By Alan Beresford

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MORAY has bucked the national trend in the numbers of people claiming Universal Credit (UC).

The number of Universal Credit claimants in Moray fell over September.
The number of Universal Credit claimants in Moray fell over September.

During September a total of 6543 people were claiming the benefit, a drop of 23 on the previous month.

Across Scotland, the same time period saw a small rise of 691 to 471,588 claimants.

The Alternative Claimant Count, which looks at those who are searching for work, shows a large year on year change between this August and August 2020, with 878 fewer people looking for a job. The current total stands at 2157, a drop of 209 per cent. Of these, some 400 were in the 18-24 age group, representing a fall of 217 or 35 per cent.

Ann Dowd, Employer and Partnership Manager Moray Jobcentres, said: "We’re stepping up activity to support people affected by the pandemic.

"We’re working closely, in partnership with local businesses, to promote their vacancies, through jobsfairs and academies offering work experience/guaranteed interviews. Our activity is very much concentrated on improving recruitment in the key industries, such as food production, where the firms need to fill vacancies.

"Associated Seafoods (Buckie) Ltd, Baxters and Walkers Shortbread Ltd are all recruiting for production staff.

"[The DWP offer] work experience in firms such as Planta, Heffy Doodle and The Deli who give young people a step on the work ladder through the Kickstart scheme.

Ms Dowd added that there are currently over 270 jobs on Findajob with a variety of local employers including Associated Seafoods (Buckie) Ltd, Walkers, Baxters, Enable, HC1 and Aramark.

She went on to say that the Kickstart Jobsfair held on September 27 at the Inkwell, Moray Pathways was a success with 12 confirmed starts to date and more to follow.

New Kickstart vacancies come on line each week. The scheme is open to young people aged 18-24 and can also be viewed on Findajob.

A Sector Based Work Academy scheme being run with Baxters saw five people going into work, following participation in pre-employment training, work experience and guaranteed interviews.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP. Picture: mimsdavies.org.uk
Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP. Picture: mimsdavies.org.uk

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “With unemployment falling once again, and another record rise in the number of workers on employer payrolls, it's clear our plan to create, support and protect jobs is working.

"As we enter the next phase of recovery, the £500 million boost to our Plan for Jobs will continue to deliver more skills and opportunities for people up and down the country whilst crucially helping to fill vacancies across growing sectors as we push to build back better.”

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack MP. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack MP. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack added: “The UK government’s priority is getting people back into work - so it is pleasing to see the latest employment figures once again show positive signs of recovery for Scotland with more people returning to employment.

“Our Plan for Jobs is helping people secure well-paid, skilled employment as we build back better from the pandemic, and we will continue to do all we can to see our economy flourish again.”

Universal Credit replaces the following benefits: Child Tax Credit; Housing Benefit; Income Support; income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA); income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); Working Tax Credit.

For more information on how UC visit www.gov.uk



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