Number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance drops by 17 per cent in Northampton

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The number of out of work people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in Northampton has dropped by 17 per cent compared with the festive season last year.

Latest Department for Work and pensions figures released today state there are currently 2,704 people claiming the benefit in the town - 553 less than last year.

In Northamptonshire there are 18 per cent less people claiming it compared with December 2014.

Senior partnership manager for the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Job Centre Plus, Helen Chambers, said that improved process at Job Centres around the country and the introduction of Universal Credit is encouraging more people to take up jobs.

She said: “It’s excellent news, much of that is down to the economy picking up.

“What we are finding is that many people are entering work, particularly in areas where Universal Credit has been launched.

“For some that is actually what is required for them to find employment, which gives them a bit more experience in the workplace and a routine.”

However, many of the positions occupied this month are on a temporary basis, such as those drafted in to help in the Royal Mail sorting offices over Christmas.

Ms Chambers said there were benefits to those undertaking seasonal work, however.

“Taking that avenue of work even for a short time can really improve confidence, and if those people do well there is every chance they could be kept on after Christmas,” she said.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the Press Association: “Everyone welcomes a drop in unemployment.

“But if you look at the types of job being created - we now have 800,000 people on zero-hours contracts or working part-time and large numbers underemployed.

“This is not the high-wage, high-skill economy that George Osborne promised us.

He suggested the earnings figures did not reflect the reality on the ground and called for a review of how they are calculated.

“The pay settlements we’ve seen have certainly not been around the 3.6 per cent mark. It’s more like 1 per cent or 2 per cent.

“While the directors get a whopping wage increase, a lot of the workers get nothing at all.”