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Unemployment claims rise significantly in Wolverhampton

By Thomas Parkes | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

People claiming unemployment benefits in Wolverhampton this year shot up by at least 40 per cent in each ward, figures have shown.

Wolverhampton Council

Data from Wolverhampton Council revealed a total of 7,000 more people were claiming between January and May this year.

At least 175 additional people from each area of the city are receiving unemployment benefits – with around 500 claiming in three areas.

And leaders expect the figure – with some areas already double the national average – to increase as furlough comes to an end.

James Amphlett, insight and performance manager at Wolverhampton Council, said: "Some areas have seen a vast increase in the percentage change and in areas like West Park, St Peter's and Bushbury South and Low Hill.

"You've got at least 11 per cent of residents – aged 16 to 64 – who are claiming some sort of unemployment benefit in those areas.

"We know that more than 7,000 people are claiming unemployment benefit since January up to May – and every ward has seen an increase of at least 175 people.

"In Ettingshall, Bushbury South and Low Hill, and St Peter's, in each of those it's 500 people. Our most deprived areas have got the highest levels of claimants.

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"Essentially, our most poor people are getting poorer and we as yet don't know what the effect on the west of the city will be when the end of furlough comes."

Unemployment levels for young people – aged between 18 to 24 – are also said to be increasing, with deprived areas becoming "more deprived" as a result.

It had led to chiefs in Wolverhampton to use a "place-based approach" – targeting specific areas or streets – to address issues at a neighbourhood level.

Solutions

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Joanna Grocutt, systems development manager for the authority, said: "We need to ask 'what are the risks the community has?' and how the council can work with them to produce solutions.

"We can target those areas with some targeted tangible activity which allows us to work with communities to tip the area out of deprivation.

"We want to help people and reduce the risk of individual being deprived by targeted tangible activity in those areas."

The system will see 20 streets – and/or areas – targeted with help and support from partners across the city to improve people's lives.

David Watts, director of adult services, gave his backing to the plan at the Health and Wellbeing Together board meeting.

He said: "We talk a lot about moving toward recovery but this approach will hopefully help all of our areas to thrive – we don't want to leave any areas or wards behind."

Public health chief John Denley said the scheme would allow them to get to the "granularity" of the issues facing people.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Senior Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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