THE latest figures from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) suggest there has been a large increase in people claiming Universal Credit (UC) since the last figures.

As of April 9, across north Shropshire there are currently 5,722 residents on UC, an increase on 3,886 from March.

A spokesman for Job Centre Plus said staff are currently facing a huge volume of traffic over helplines.

They said: “The Job Centre Plus team in Shropshire are committed to delivering support to everybody who needs it in these unprecedented times. Our local constituencies have all seen rises in their overall UC it claimant caseloads of between 45 per cent and 62 per cent.

“Given that UC went live in Shropshire 2017, this gives some context to such a rapid rise in claimant numbers.

“The digital UC service allows claimants to submit their claim details online and confirm their identity either by the online verify system, or over the phone.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ve never been busier and we’re inundated with new claims on a scale we could never have anticipated in normal times, and we’ve improved the way we operate to be more accommodating and reduce action required by claimants.”