The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK economy, with unemployment rising to a five-year high in the three months to December.
Analysis of Department for Work and Pensions figures by the JPIMedia Data Unit reveals the number of people claiming Universal Credit in Bedford has risen by 95 per cent in the past year – despite efforts to protect jobs through the government furlough scheme.
In January 2020, there were 8,871 people claiming, but provisional figures for January 2021 show that had risen to 17,263.
The Universal Credit benefit is available to low earners as well as those out of work, so some people on furlough could be receiving wage top-ups.
Across England, those aged 20 to 24 have been the worst affected, with a rise of 132 per cent. People in this age group were also most likely to be completely out of work or earning very little.
In Bedford, the largest rise was also among 40-44 age group. Those aged over 65 have been excluded from the analysis.
Here’s how different age groups in Bedford have been impacted.