Despite the latest figures showing Universal Credit claimants are down across the East Kilbride Strathaven and Lesmahagow constituency, MP Lisa Cameron says not enough is being done to help people in poverty.
In January 2022 there were 2080 claimants in the constituency, representing 3.2 per cent of the population (aged 16-64). This is below the average UK claimant rate of 4.3 per cent.
This figure was 40 more than December 2021 and 295 more than March 2020, prior to the start of the first UK lockdown.
The bulk of this increase occurred in March-May 2020, at the start of the COVID pandemic.
The figures also show there were 295 claimants aged 18-24, representing 3.6 per cent of the population within that age group.
This figure was five more than December 2021 and 30 less than March 2020.
In comparison, the UK claimant rate was five per cent.
In response to the pandemic, the UK government introduced various enhancements to Universal Credit which may have increased the number of people who are eligible for unemployment related benefits.
Some of the increase in claimant count will be due to people who have become unemployed, whilst some will be due to employed people who have newly become eligible for Universal Credit as part of the government response.
Commenting on the figures, the MP stated ”It is welcome that the figures of those claiming Universal Credit across our constituency are down compared with the national average and we must do all possible to bounce back our economy in the months ahead.
“For those who are claiming Universal Credit the process continues to remain a quagmire especially for people with mental health and disabilities and we are working with Government and DWP wherever possible to facilitate this for those affected across our constituency.”