The number of people out of work, seeking work and claiming benefits rose again in Cumbria in July.

Official figures released by the Office for National Statistics today show the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit in the county jumped to 300 compared to June to reach 14,205.

This is an increase of 2.1 per cent compared to a national increase of 3.5 per cent.

The count rose in most areas, the exceptions being Eden District and areas within the Lake District National Park where it fell by five in both cases.

The highest rises were in Carlisle (120) and South Lakeland (70).

Compared to before the coronavirus lockdown in March, the number of claimants in Cumbria is 7275 higher, which is a rise of 105 per cent compared to 111 per cent nationally.

In Copeland the number of claimants rose by 50 compared to June from 1,990 to 2,040. In Barrow borough the figure increased by 40 from 2065 to 2105. In Allerdale the number went up from 2830 to 2850.

Shane Byrne, partnership manager for the Department of Work and Pensions in Cumbria, said the numbers were “dramatically ahead of where we’d normally be”.

“We will be recruiting staff and we will be looking to support new clients who have never had to engage with the Job Centre before,” he said.

He said despite the growing figures in most areas people must not begin to think there were no jobs available.

“There are certain sectors that are still growing,” he said.

“In particular in care and logistics.”

However, he said he felt concerned for younger people if the number of apprenticeships available began to drop and older people who may well have been out of the job market for a long time.

Older people could find it particularly hard to readjust to job hunting, particularly as so much was now done online.

He said schemes like sector based work academies - which the DWP works on with trainer Inspira - could help prepare people for work in specific areas with local employers.

The Jobs Fuse service - a partnership between the DWP, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and the National Careers Service - also helps businesses who are making people redundant, as well as matching them with people who are looking for work. It also offers help and advice to those seeking jobs.

Shane said those who were left out of work should not delay making a claim for Universal Credit, which would help them accesss the services on offer.