Unemployment levels prompt call for benefit rethink
Homelessness charity Crisis is calling on the government to reform housing benefit to tackle rising unemployment.
Government figures released today show that unemployment claimants in the UK have risen to 980,900 – three per cent of the workforce and a 0.1 per cent rise from the month before.
The Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions are currently carrying out a review of housing benefit. Crisis said the government must use the review to tackle unemployment.
Leslie Morphy, chief executive of the charity, said: ‘Housing benefit already traps many people in unemployment, low-paid work and poverty.
‘Today’s figures mean that many more people are going to be reliant on housing benefit and will find themselves held back by the system.’
The charity has already written to MPs and the government outlining how housing benefit can drive poverty.
Employment minister Tony McNulty said: ‘Every time a worker loses their job it is a personal tragedy and the government is doing everything it can to get those people who have become unemployed back to work as quickly as possible.’
Economists are predicting unemployment figures will continue to rise.
Ben Read, managing economist at Centre for Economics and Business Research, said: ‘The claimant count is now perilously close to the psychological barrier of 1 million, and will surely rise above this in the next month.’