Universal Credit: these are the age groups in England that have been worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK economy, with unemployment rising to a five-year high in the three months to December.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 1:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th March 2021, 1:14 pm
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK economy, with unemployment rising to a five-year high in the three months to December.

Analysis of Department for Work and Pensions figures by the JPIMedia Data Unit reveals the number of people claiming Universal Credit in England has risen by 118% in the past year – despite efforts to protect jobs through the government furlough scheme.

In January 2020, there were 2.4 million people claiming Universal Credit, but provisional figures for January 2021 show this had risen to 5.2 million.

The Universal Credit benefit is available to low earners as well as those out of work, so some people on furlough could be receiving wage top-ups.

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Those aged 20 to 24 have been the worst affected, with a 132% increase in claimants. Claimants rose from 296,714 to 687,732.

Across England, those aged 20 to 24 have been the worst affected by the pandemic.

Claimants in this age group were also most likely to be completely out of work or earning very little – those required to undertake an intensive search for work or a better paid job.

Here’s how different age groups across the country have been impacted by the Covid pandemic.

People aged 40 to 44 were second hardest hit. The number of claimants rose from 244,807 to 548,870 an increase of 124%.
Third worst affected was people aged 50 to 54, with an increase of 123%, from 187,072 to 417,139.
Next it was those in the 55 to 59. Claims among this group rose by 118%, from 153,852 to 334,975.
The fifth hardest hit group was 45 to 49 year olds, with claims up from 213,215 to 463,082 – a rise of 117%.
Claims among those aged 35 to 39 rose by 116%, from 316,479 to 682,344.
People approaching retirement from the ages of 60 to 65 were next, with a rise of 115%, from 133,679 claimants to 287,160.
They were followed by people aged 30 to 34, with claims up by 113% from 376,515 to 802,010.
Young adults aged between 25 and 29 saw their claims increase by 110%, from 371,425 to 779,621.
Last but not least was those aged 16 to 19. Universal Credit is normally only available to those aged 18 or over, but 16 and 17 year olds can apply in some circumstances. Among this age group, the number of claimants almost doubled, from 88,416 to 174,506.