Huge jump in West Norfolk unemployment benefit claims revealed
The economic impact of coronavirus has been revealed as new figures show unemployment benefit claims in West Norfolk have jumped to their highest level in nearly 25 years.
More than 1,400 additional claims were recorded in April than in the previous month, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
And the current figure, published this morning, is also around two and a half times that recorded at the same time last year.
The figures follow research highlighted by Norfolk County Council officials earlier this month, which warned that the value of West Norfolk's economy could shrink by as much as 38 per cent because of the pandemic.
Today's data shows that a total of 3,495 people were recorded to be claiming out of work benefits in West Norfolk during April.
That equates to around 4.1 per cent of the borough's total workforce and which is in line with the regional average and below the national average.
But the total number of claims is up from 2,040 in March and stood at just 1,400 in April 2019.
The new figure is also the highest monthly total to be recorded for the borough at any time since August 1996, during the final year of John Major's tenure as Prime Minister.
Neighbouring districts have fared little better, with the claimant total in Breckland rising from 1,630 in March to 3,075 in April. That is Breckland's highest monthly total since April 1996.
Meanwhile, the figure in North Norfolk more than doubled to 2,305, the highest recorded since February 1997.
And, across the county as a whole, nearly 10,000 extra unemployment benefit claims were made in April, taking the overall total to 23,305. That is the highest recorded since January 1997.