New figures reveal the amount of people in Swindon who are currently claiming Universal Credit.

The latest Department for Work and Pensions data shows that, in August, 4,475 people in the borough claimed benefits, which is 45 (less than one per cent) more than that time last year.

Of these claimants, 775 were aged 18 to 24, which is 50 (seven per cent) more than 12 months ago, and 1,030 were over 50 years old, an increase of 25 (two per cent).

Swindon Jobcentre staff will work with Swindon Borough Council to host sessions that focus on child care advice from September 19.

The intention is to offer support, advice and guidance to ease the process of securing childcare to enable parents to return to work.  

On September 28, the Jobcentre is holding a  speed dating-style event for customers where employers on-site will be supporting them with mock interviews and recruitment advice.

Sally Cook is the DWP partnership manager for Swindon and Wiltshire.

She said: “The varied way in which our Jobcentres work nowadays, offers such a mix of customer support.

“There is something for everyone, whatever their circumstances.

“With the changes introduced in June to the upfront childcare costs within Universal Credit, it is perfect timing for Swindon Jobcentre to be running customer information sessions.”

Regionally, the number of people employed in the south west is currently at 2.760 million – which is a drop of 33,000 compared to the previous quarter and 28,000 fewer than this time last year.

The employment rate (aged 16-64) is at 77.5 per cent - down 0.9 per cent on the quarter and down 0.7 per cent on the year.

The number of people unemployed around the south west is currently at 103,000 – up 14,000 on the quarter and up 25,000 on the year.

The unemployment rate is at 3.6 per cent - up 0.5 per cent on the quarter and up 0.9 per cent on the year.

The number of people in workless households has fallen since April to June 2010 by 112,000.

Minister for Employment, Guy Opperman MP, said:  “There are one million fewer workless households than in 2010 and the number of people on company payrolls is a near record high.

"But we are not complacent about the challenges we face, which is why we remain focused on removing barriers to help people find and succeed in work."