One in five people in the Black Country and Stafford area are on benefits, and 17 per cent are getting out of work handouts, the latest figures have revealed.
Wolverhampton and Sandwell both top the list in the region with 23 per cent of their working age population claiming benefits. Wolverhampton also has the highest proportion of claiming out of work benefits at 19.8 per cent.
While Sandwell has 19.3 per cent of the population receiving the handout.
The out of work benefits include those who receive funds because they cannot be in full-time employment, this includes those on job seekers allowance, incapacity and lone parents benefits.
The figures reveal that Dudley, Walsall and Cannock Chase Council’s also had higher than average benefits claimants.
The Office for National Statistics figures which relate to those aged between 16 and 64, show in the West Midlands 16.8 per cent of are claiming funds from the state while the national average is 15 per cent.
The highest proportion of benefits claimants are in Blaenau Gwent in south Wales with 27 per cent of making a claim and the region with the most benefit claimants is the North East with 19 per cent of the working age population on benefits.
The benefits include job seekers allowance, incapacity benefits, lone parents and carers allowance.
At last week’s Conservative Conference Chancellor George Osborne told his fellow Tories that they would slash government spending on welfare by 10 billion pounds a year if re-elected.
Sandwell Council’s jobs and economy boss Councillor Derek Rowley blamed the economic downturn rather than a “benefits culture”.
Councillor Rowley said: “It is of course the economic climate and recession, as many of these people will be struggling to find work.”