THE number of people claiming Universal Credit in North Shropshire in August fell by nearly 1,000, figures show.

Date from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that in August, there were 2,138, a decrease of 957 or 31 per cent compared to the previous year.

But these figures are still up on five years ago, with 706 more people than 2016 claiming Universal Credit.

Ben Vaughan, Shropshire employer manager for Jobcentre Plus, said that the figures showed "continued and sustained economic recovery".

He added: "Between August 2020 and August 2021, all our constituencies showed significant reductions in their Universal Credit claimants numbers with Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin as local authority areas showing reductions of 32 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

"These reductions equate to more than 4,500 people returning to employment in Shropshire.

"With the wider West Midlands zone reducing by 18 per cent during the same period, and the total number of Universal Credit claimants nationally only reducing by 22 per cent, it really does put into perspective the considerable post covid progress made locally.

"We continue to see significant reductions in our 18-24-year-old claimant numbers in both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, with both local authority areas reducing at a greater volume than the wider West Midlands zone.

"With the support of our employer and partner network locally, our significant success in delivering the Kickstart scheme has played a huge part in these reductions, and the government's recent announcement that the scheme will now be extended until March 2022 is great news for both employers and younger jobseekers.

"Our job market remains buoyant locally and Jobcentre Plus continues to work tirelessly to bring employers into our offices and youth hubs to fill their vacancies quickly and effectively as we move into the autumn, with many of our employers already beginning recruitment for their busy Christmas period."