UNEMPLOYMENT figures in Oswestry continue to rise thanks to Universal Credit.

The latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures reveal that there were 520 people unemployment benefit

claimants in Oswestry last month, compared to 360 last year.

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said that the increase was because of the Universal Credit roll out.

She said: “The claimant count has increased this month which we were expecting, the claimant naturally fluctuates over time and always has, but it’s important to note that we fully expect to see higher numbers in the claimant count Universal Credit cited for jobless figures rise because the statistics now fully factor in Universal Credit, which is replacing a range of different benefits.

“So people who were previously not included in the measure now fall under it because they’re in receipt of Universal Credit.”

The spokesman added that there will be a job fair in Oswestry on Thursday, October 11.

She added: "We are also helping our retail and hospitality employers prepare for their seasonal recruitment needs and continue to help our Care employers to meet their recruitment needs throughout Telford and Shropshire.

"Gap Personnel in Oswestry are recruiting for production operatives for Arla."

A total of 4,365 people claimed unemployment benefits in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, compared to 3,975 in

August 2017.

The unemployment rate in the UK has not been lower since the 1970s, at four per cent, while the number of

people in employment remains at a near record high figure of 75.5 per cent, according to the latest statistics from the


Esther McVey, secretary of state for work and pensions, said: “Since 2010 we have delivered significant growth in jobs, and in the last six months we’ve seen real terms wage growth.

"We haven’t had a lower unemployment rate for over 40 years and I’m especially proud that youth unemployment is at a record low, falling by over 45 per cent since 2010 - opening up career opportunities for our next generation.

"In the EU we see unemployment rates over double those of the UK.

"This government is transforming this country into a great working nation. Ready and prepared for the future challenges after Brexit.”