Press release

Government launches consultation on Claimant Count

How the government assesses the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits is to be overhauled to provide accuracy to the statistics.

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is consulting on a new measure of the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits to provide consistency over time.

This follows a decision by the UK Statistics Authority to remove the National Statistics quality mark from the current Claimant Count statistics as they no longer provide a reliable measure of movements in the labour market.

The Claimant Count is rising in areas where Universal Credit has rolled out because it is counting people in the ‘Searching for Work’ Universal Credit conditionality group. Some of these people would not previously have been included in the Claimant Count under Jobseeker’s Allowance.

More consistent data will allow more meaningful comparisons over time so that the government can be held to account for its progress on supporting everyone who wants to work, to find a job.

In a consultation launched today by Minister of State for Employment Alok Sharma MP, the DWP is seeking views on 2 alternative options.

Having a more accurate picture will help Local Authorities and Jobcentre Plus understand the needs in their communities.

Minister of State for Employment Alok Sharma said:

I am delighted that we have record employment in the British economy, but it is also important that we have an accurate measure of the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits so we can provide support to those wanting to move into work or to a better paid job.

I urge all those with an interest in this area to take part in this consultation.

More information

The consultation will run for 8 weeks until 21 July 2018.

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Published 21 May 2018