Number of Wiganers claiming out-of-work benefits has risen

Number out-of-work claimants in Wigan has increased
Number out-of-work claimants in Wigan has increased

The number of Wiganers claiming out-of-work benefits has risen following the implementation of Universal Credit in the borough.

The latest labour market figures show there were 7,620 people needing assistance in July.

That is a three per cent increase on the figure recorded 12 months ago.

Jobcentre bosses admit Universal Credit means people with far bigger challenges to getting into employment are now coming through the doors but remain confident the claimant count will come down.

Karen Booth, a work coach team leader for the Jobcentre Plus, said: “We are taking on board quite a lot of support from local providers and work coaches have been trained to deal with customers who weren’t coming through the doors before.

“The support can be taking baby steps at first, it can take a while. One of our work coaches has had several conversations with a client purely about the barriers they face. They’ve now got voluntary work and that’s a massive step for her.”

The Jobcentre is currently working on a massive recruitment drive with a major Wigan food company.

Bakkavor, based at Ince, is looking to take on around 15 places per week until September, the Jobcentre says.

The organisation is also encouraging jobseekers to look at the changed shift patterns employees at the food production plant will work.

The Jobcentre is also working with young jobseekers as school leavers enter the system.

Jones Brothers, in the construction sector, is particularly looking to take on apprentices and plant operatives.