The number of people receiving Universal Credit for unemployment in Outer West Leeds has almost doubled since March 2020.
Latest figures show the number of people claiming Universal Credit in the Pudsey, Farnley & Wortley and Calverley & Farsley wards who were unemployed in November 2020 is 3,471.
Members of Leeds Council’s Outer West Community Committee heard this week that this was an increase of 95% since March 2020 and an increase of 92 on the previous month.
The figures were met by concern at the meeting, which is made up of councillors from the three Outer West council wards.
Cllr Andrew Carter (Cons, Calverley & Farsley) said the figures were ‘quite disturbing’. He said:
“The number of claimants has gone up significantly since March of last year as you would expect. It’s not out of hand but very worrying. It’s due to Covid and people losing their jobs, which underlines my earlier point – the protection of employment should be a top priority.”
The report also highlighted the difficulties of getting back into work for people who have lost their jobs during Covid-19.
Leeds City Council’s Employment and Skills Service said that due to the ongoing impact of Covid and the temporary closure of face-to-face services last March, the employment and skills delivery services have been adapted and are continuing through a virtual or remote offer, along with email and telephone support.
During April to December 2020, 8,755 people have accessed the service, 598 of who were from Outer West. This is a reduction of 20% when compared to the same period last year. Across the city the service has supported 2,701 people into work.
A total of 156 residents from the Outer West have been supported into work, a reduction of 27% when compared to the same period last year.
258 new businesses were supported to recruit new staff or to provide support for staff facing redundancy. Recruitment continued in the health and care sector as it deals with winter pressures, and in digital roles.
The Outer West Community Committee comprises nine councillors, five Conservative, three Green and one Labour.