Unemployed people need more protection during COVID-19 crisis says Oldham MP

Date published: 21 May 2020

16-64 year-olds in Oldham East and Saddleworth claiming unemployment related benefits has risen to 5,210. 

That's 8% compared to the national average of 5.1% and it remains the highest rate across Greater Manchester.

The new figures published by the Office for National Statistics, show that the figure of 5,210 claimants is 1,875 higher than March 2020; and 2,285 higher than April 2019. There were 1,050 claimants aged 18-24 in April 2020; 380 higher than March 2020; and 430 higher than April 2019. Youth 

The Youth Unemployment Claimant Count has increased this month (from 8% to 12.5%) and also remains the highest rate see across GM. 

Commenting on the new data, Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth said: “These figures show the severity of the crisis we are facing during this pandemic with the lockdown causing a large economic shock with unemployment to rise significantly across the whole country. It is likely that these levels of unemployment will continue to rise in the short to medium term.

“Unfortunately social security claimants in my Oldham and Saddleworth constituency will now discover the UK has one of the weakest out of work safety nets in the developed world.

“I support the changes the Government has made so far during the outbreak, but they are a drop in the ocean against the £33bn cut in social security support to working age people over the last 10 years and do not match the scale of the crisis for so many people caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“That’s why I’m backing Labour’s call for the Government to make five immediate changes to our social security system to offer more protection to unemployed people.
Debbie added: “The Covid-19 crisis is causing serious financial suffering for many people across the borough so we must urgently find ways to strengthen the social security safety net so our society can emerge from the crisis with the least damage possible.
“While I welcome the Government’s emergency measures so far, I do not believe they go far enough. By taking these additional steps immediately, we can protect families and individuals from sliding further into hardship and debt from which it will be extremely difficult to recover.”

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