Mersey claimant count up but there are still vacancies

There was another rise in Universal Credit claims in the Liverpool city region from June to July with the end of furlough likely to see more people lose their jobs. Tony McDonough reports

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Jobcentre Plus says there are warehousing vacancies available


Claims for Universal Credit (UC) continue to rise across the Liverpool city region with a warning that the ending of the furlough scheme is likely to see more job losses.

However, Jobcentre Plus staff in Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, Halton and St Helens say there are still vacancies coming through and they are assisting jobseekers to access openings in the public sector, transport, construction and security.

Advisers are also giving support for small businesses and sole traders who have found themselves on UC as a result of the pandemic, offering support on adapting business models, reviewing business plans and developing new skills.

Between March and May there was a sharp rise in UC claimants across the six city region boroughs. The number is continuing to climb, although at a much slower rate. Not all claimants are unemployed. They also include people in work on a low wage and on UC due to a health condition and not required to look for work.

Latest figures from the DWP show there were 164,259 people claiming UC in Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, Halton and St Helens as of July 9. This represents a 1.3% rise in claimants from June.

Liverpool, again, saw the biggest percentage rise in UC claimants, up 2.1% to 56,024; followed by Knowsley, up 1% to 18,120; Wirral, up 0.9% to 30,143; Sefton, up 0.8% to 26,238; Halton, up 0.7% to 15,960; and St Helens, up 0.6% to 17,774.

UK-wide figures showed the number of workers on company payrolls fell by 730,000 between March and July as another 81,000 jobs were lost since June, mainly due to cutbacks by employers hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gemma Batchelor, from the Merseyside Jobcentre Plus district, told LBN: “We are yet to see the full effects of the pandemic on our region while the furlough scheme is still in place.

“However, our recruitment teams are as busy as ever supporting large numbers of vacancies in the public sector, construction, manufacturing PPE, security and, in Halton, warehousing, distribution and call centres. We are tailoring support to offer extra help for young people and those who are self-employed and have ceased trading.”

Jobcentre Plus is organising sector-based work academies (SBWAs) for vacancies within the public sector in Merseyside include HMRC, Birkenhead Service Centre, Immigration, and DWP Work coach roles.

It also also working to help fill 10 bus driver roles, production operators for a manufacturer making PPE, construction vacancies and in security where social distancing rules have seen rising demand for trained operatives.

Ms Batchelor added: “We have also been working with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and youth support organisations to put together a calendar of virtual sessions to help young people back into work (click here).

“We are also gathering feedback from young people around what they would like future support and services to look like as we design the new Youth Hubs across the region.  The survey has been designed with the Metro Mayor’s youth advisory group and we would encourage as many young people as possible to complete it (click here).”

For all information on all the support that’s available in Merseyside, including the latest local jobs and training opportunities, click here.

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