Kent Job Seekers Fall By Over 1000 For Third Month Running

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job centreMore than one thousand people in Kent have managed to get of Job Seekers Allowance and find work for the third month running. May’s figures show that there was another huge plummet in the amount of people securing employment or training to leave welfare. The total figure dropped below 25,000 as a result – the first time it has been that low since the start of the financial recession in November 2008. The Office For National Statistics confirms that the total fall this month was 1137 bringing the overall figure to 24,774.

Every county in Kent saw a drop in the number of job seekers. The Medway area of Kent, which has been performing the worst in terms of the amount of people out of work, still had the highest number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants, but the figure went down by 102 in May taking it before the 5000 mark and landing at 4978. Even Thanet, despite the closure of the airport leaving 140 people without a job, dropped to 3775 claimants with a fall of 174.

The figures are estimated to be a result of the demand for part time summer work. However, the Dover MP Charlie Elphick is hoping that this is, in fact, a sign that the government’s plan is working. He said:

[quote]This is really encouraging because it shows our long-term plan is working. We need to ensure it is a sustainable recovery for everyone. The claimant count in Dover and Deal is now 10% lower than it was at the time of the general election and youth unemployment is 22% lower.[/quote]

The figures also took a slight drop on a national level. There were 161,000 people across the United Kingdom who were able to find work over the last month. However, the overall number still stands at a staggering 2.16 million demonstrating that close to 7% of the United Kingdom are out of work.

The senior manager at Maidstone’s Job Centre in Kent said:

[quote]Employers are more confident that they can take the right people on and that we are getting people ready for them. The economy is picking up as well and they are saying they are getting more work through.[/quote]

Job Seeker’s Allowance is afforded to people in the United Kingdom who are out of work and actively looking for employment. It requires claimants to ‘sign on’ at their local Job Centre on a regular basis and demonstrate the ways in which you have been seeking work e.g. applications, networking, etc.

The Social Fund Is Abolished And Control Of Funding Is Given To Local Authorities

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government borrowing[typography font=”Cardo” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#000000″][dropcap]A[/dropcap][/typography]s of today (Monday 1st April 2013) the Social Fund, which is a national scheme that provides support and aid to those who are most vulnerable, is coming to an end, as the demand for such help is expected to increase. The Social Fund provides money for community care grants and crisis loans, which are offered through the job centre, and the alternatives is funding that is to be controlled by councils in England, Scotland and Wales.

Critics are warning that the demand will only rise, especially following the changes that the government has made to welfare, which is expected to kick in relatively soon. It is expected that the level of support that people will be able to access will depend on where they live, rather than their circumstances on a national scale.

In the past, anyone who was in need could consider using the Social Fund, which primary benefit was to provide loans of around £50 to those who needed to overcome short term financial difficulties, which were usually caused by late wage payments or circumstances beyond their control. The loans could then by repaid through benefits.

Community grants were also available, on a separate basis, to those people who were in more vulnerable situations, such as people in a domestic violence environment or leaving care, providing them the means to buy good to help them make the transition to returning to living independently.

However, following the changes that are effective as of today, it is expected that those in need will have to turn to their local authorities for the same sort of support, meaning that the level of help is going to be more dependant on where the person lives. For example, if a person lives within an area with few people needing support, the money will be available to help them as it is needed; however, if they live in an area where there is a high number of people needing support, the situation could be very different, with the minimum amount of support being provided.

It is expected that many councils will turn to offering food stamps or furniture vouchers, but Tristram Hunt, the MP for Stoke-On-Trent, isn’t fully on-board with the idea, saying [quote]There’s something that makes me instinctively very wary about the move towards food stamps and vouchers.[/quote]

If you are worried about how the changes will affect you, you can ring the Social Fund Contact Number and someone will be able to provide you with information regarding your query.