'Fragile' economic recovery if no third wave as Ipswich benefit claims fall

Ipswich has seen a rise in the number of people claiming Universal Credit according to the DWP Pictu

Ipswich Borough Council had 1,529 benefit claims in April 2020, while pre-pandemic it had 315. This year in April it had 424, still higher than before the coronavirus and lockdown - Credit: PA Wire

Ipswich benefit claims are higher than pre-pandemic levels but they are starting to fall as the economy recovers from being shut during lockdown. 

In April 2020, Ipswich Borough Council had 1,529 claims made up of universal credit and council tax benefits compared to 424 in the same month this year. 

During the same month, 315 claims were processed in 2019/20 before the pandemic. 

Ipswich leader David Ellesmere said: "There are encouraging signs that the number of people who are unemployed is starting to fall as the economy comes out of hibernation. This is leading to a lower number of benefit claims and we must hope that this continues.

"However, we need to recognise that the recovery is fragile and could still be knocked off course by a third wave of the virus or when a large part of the Government’s Covid support measures are withdrawn in the autumn."

Income maximisation officer at Ipswich Citizens Advice Heather Carmichael claims some of this is down to people being more "aware" of universal credit and other benefit schemes during the pandemic.

Ms Carmichael added that people have also seen their incomes change, particularly in Ipswich where low wages have always been an issue, which has created "hardship" for a lot of people during the last year.  

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