THERE has been a slight increase in the number of people claiming Universal Credit (UC) between May and June in north Shropshire according the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

From May 14 to June 11, there was an increase of 217 people across north Shropshire claiming UC, an increase of 3.2 per cent.

Other constituencies across the county have reported similar rises, with Shropshire as a whole seeing an increase of 664 people claiming UC over the one-month period, an increase of 3.4 per cent or 0.4 per cent of the total UK population.

A spokesman for Job Centre Plus said they were doing all they could to support new claimants across the county.

“Job Centre Plus is continuing to provide a vital service across Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin to support all our claimants to return to work during these unprecedented times," they said. "Locally, our rises in UC claims numbers have slowed considerably.

"This, alongside the chancellor’s announcement of support measures is a great news for our employers and jobseekers in Shropshire.

"The Furlough Job Retention Bonus scheme will support with protecting jobs locally and allow our employers to continue to employ staff where previously this might not have been possible.

"The Kickstart and New Apprentice schemes will create new opportunities for our younger jobseekers aged 16-24 that will help them develop vital work based skills and experience to support them to build their careers while giving our employers the welcome 'shot in the arm' of additions to their workforce.

"We have already seen considerable interest from local employers in these schemes in the last week, which gives us much to be excited about in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin."