Unemployment benefit claimant numbers fall

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The number of people claiming the out-of-work benefit Jobseekers’ Allowance fell between August and September.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham, Gosport, Chichester, Winchester and East Hampshire local authority areas the numbers were down.

In total, 565 fewer people claimed the benefit.

The biggest drop in terms of percentage of claimants came in Fareham, which saw an almost 10 per cent reduction in claimants.

Its levels dropped from 1,000 in August to 913 in September – a fall of 87 claimants.

Gosport’s levels dropped by 7.4 per cent, taking its figures from 1,297 to 1,208, which is a fall of 89.

Winchester City Council’s catchment area saw a similar drop of 7.2 per cent, with its numbers falling from 806 in August to 752 in September – a fall of 54.

Over the border in Chichester 6.6 per cent fewer people claimed the benefit in September compared to August, with levels dropping by 70 from 1,139 to 1,069.

Havant’s figures fell by 4.2 per cent, taking its numbers down 81 from 2,000 to 1,919.

Portsmouth’s numbers fell by 3.9 per cent, dropping by 160 people. That means 4,116 people claimed the benefit in September compared to 4,276 in August.

Finally, in the area covered by East Hampshire District Council, the claimant figures fell by 2.9 per cent, taking the figures from 841 to 817 – a fall of 24.

Nationally, the number of people in work has reached a record high of almost 30 million.

Just under 2.5 million people were out of work in the three months to August, down by 18,000 on the previous three months, while figures showed the biggest monthly fall in Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants for 16 years.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said: ‘Today’s figures show a rise in employment of more than a million under this Government, and they show that there are now more people in work than ever before.

‘That’s a really positive sign of growth in the UK economy, and a credit to British businesses for creating those jobs.

‘We are not complacent - there’s still work to do - but with more than 500,000 vacancies currently available, and with all the signs being that the economy is turning a corner, we can see that there are opportunities out there for hardworking people who aspire to get on in life.’