Unemployment rise as Brent Council plans economic recovery

Almost 15,000 more people in Brent claimed unemployment benefits in September when compared with March, according to a council report.

The data, presented as part of a report examining Brent’s economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, showed 22,575 people claimed out of work benefits in September.

This was an increase of 14,700 (187 per cent) when measured against the statistics for March, when England went into its first national lockdown.

According to the report, the number of claimants aged 18-49 had trebled during this time, while it had doubled for those aged 50 and above.

It noted unemployment levels among young people (18-24) had “increased rapidly” since the initial lockdown, with 315 per cent more people in this age group claiming out of work help.

The report stated: “Brent’s economy is heavily represented by employment in sectors likely to be especially impacted on by the pandemic.

“Much of the employment in these sectors is low-paid, part time and can be insecure.

“This is the key driver of Brent’s low median household income, which is the second lowest of all London boroughs.”

To address this, the council explained it wants to “improve prospects” for low-paid workers by boosting adult education and skills and “connecting economic opportunities”.

This, it noted, will hopefully create sustainable employment and higher paid jobs, while also pointing people towards roles in sectors “more resilient” to a post-Covid landscape.

Cllr Shama Tatler, who is responsible for regeneration, property, and planning at Brent Council, said it would also look to support local businesses who have borne the brunt of the pandemic.

Announcing a plan to aid the borough’s economic recovery, she said: “Covid-19 has impacted us all, including many Brent businesses who have really struggled during this period.

“Brent businesses have felt the impact of the pandemic and lockdown.

“However, many continue to show resilience, by adapting delivery methods, product offer and supporting local mutual aid groups.

“Our Economic Recovery Action Plan details our plans for the future and the measures we will take to ensure Brent businesses thrive.”

The plan notes the ways the council has sought to support businesses in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes online webinars, incentives to become London Living Wage employers, and ‘Kickstart’ placements for young people on Universal Credit.

Harrow Times | Local News