Unemployment benefits

Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants and Out-of-work
Universal Credit claimants


Note: the rate is number of claimants as a proportion of the economically active population aged 16-64

Government claim: “Since 2010 we have higher employment and lower unemployment in every region and every nation of the United Kingdom. Wages are now growing at their fastest pace in almost a decade” Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under – Secretary, Dept of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy see speech

Counter claim: “While wages are currently growing…and employment is at a record high, the sobering big picture is that inflation-adjusted pay is still almost £5,000 a year lower than when Lehman Brothers was still around” Stephen Clarke, a senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation thinktank[1].

And according to the New Economics Foundation Approximately eight million people are caught in a debt trap because of low wages and high rent. They pay out an average of a quarter of their incomes each month to their lenders[2].

Fact: Four million workers are living in poverty –a rise of more than half a million over five years. In-work   poverty has been rising even faster than employment

Fact: Child poverty has been rising since 2011/12; 4.1 million children are living in poverty, a rise of 500,000 in the last five years[1].

“The labour market is trapping people in poverty, when it should be offering people a route out. It is very demoralising for people who are doing what society expects of them, going out to work to meet the essentials but still unable to do that.” David Innes, head of economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation[2].

[1] UK Poverty 2018. Report by Joseph Rowntree Foundation See more

[2] ‘You can’t really win’: 4m Britons in poverty despite having jobs. Guardian article 14-May 2019