Number of Universal Credit Claims Doubles in Wandsworth

Has risen to nearly 12,000 over the course of the pandemic

Temporary Job Centre Plus set up in the Putney Exchange Shopping Centre Temporary Job Centre Plus set up in Putney. Picture: Andrew_Writer

August 18, 2021

Universal Credit (UC) claims have doubled in the borough of Wandsworth since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures reveal.

Wandsworth had 5,100 people claiming UC in February last year and this has risen to 11,995 last month, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

In July, 1,665 young claimants (age 18-24) on Universal Credit in Wandsworth. This has been falling steadily month on month after it peaked at 2,215 in February 2021.

In February 2020, there were 670 young claimants on Universal Credit in Wandsworth.

The DWP says it has been working closely with people to get into employment who are on UC.

Schemes such as the Day One Job Finding Scheme, Job Entry Targeted Support (JETs) and Sector Work-Based Academy Programme (SWAP) work with claimants on UC for the first six months to build their experiences to move back into work.

For people that have been unemployed for longer, there is the Restart scheme which provides 12 months of intensive employment support to UC claimants unemployed for over a year.

Jessica Sutro, district operations manager for West London at the DWP said, “We’ve been working closely with local partners and employers in Richmond, Kingston and Wandsworth to set up specific opportunities for our customers to enter key sectors.

“For example, we have set up a number of Sector Work-Based Academy Programmes (SWAPs) to support customers into roles in the NHS, Adult Social Care, and the civil service.”

For younger people, six month placements are available across all three boroughs through the Kickstart Scheme.

The DWP has worked with Richmond Upon Thames College to set up a youth hub, which opened in April 2021.

This Youth Employability Coach is co-located at the youth hub where support includes 1-2-1 support from coaches, a pre-employment course run by the college, and employers, in order to match young people to their opportunities.

Jessica added, “We’ve also significantly increased the number of work coaches in our job centres, and in the Wandsworth/Richmond/Kingston area.

“We have opened two new offices, one in Putney (opened in April 2021) and one in Kingston (opened in August 2021), to better support our customers.”