Huge rise in number of people claiming benefits

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the UK soared to 2.1 million in April, the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown.

The total in April jumped by 856,500, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Before the lockdown began, employment had hit a record high.

The benefit claimant count does not include everyone who is out of work, since not all can claim assistance, but it does indicate the trend.

In another indication of the bleak employment landscape, the number of job vacancies fell by nearly a quarter to 637,000 in the three months to April.

Meanwhile, claims for universal credit – the benefit for working-age people in the UK – hit a record monthly level in the early weeks of lockdown.  Click here to read more.

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