The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has gone up by thousands in Epping Forest compared to the start of the Covid-19 crisis, new figures reveal.

Office for National Statistics data shows 5,005 people were claiming out-of-work benefits in Epping Forest as of September 10, compared to just 1,540 in early March.

That’s 6.2 per cent of the working-age population, up from 1.9 per cent.

The figures include those aged 16 to 64 on Jobseeker’s Allowance and some Universal Credit claimants, who are unemployed and seeking work.

Despite still being much higher than pre-crisis levels, the number getting help in Epping Forest was lower than at the start of August, when there were 5,045 claimants.

But national figures, which were adjusted to account for seasonal changes, show the claimant count rose by 1 per cent to 2.7 million in September compared to the previous month. It was also more than double the number recorded in March.

Separate ONS data shows UK unemployment rose by 138,000 to 1.52 million in the three months to August compared to the previous quarter – the highest since the start of 2017.

Redundancies also rose by a record 114,000 to 227,000.

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