UC claimants 'not in jobless count'

Bicester Advertiser: The latest unemployment figures are due to be published on Wednesday The latest unemployment figures are due to be published on Wednesday

Labour has launched a fresh attack on the Government's Universal Credit (UC) scheme after revealing that "errors" by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have meant claimants are being excluded from official unemployment figures.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said that in response to a parliamentary question, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which publishes unemployment figures, said the DWP had not been able to supply it with information in a way that has allowed the inclusion of UC claimants within the claimant count.

Labour said the ONS added: "ONS intends to include UC claimants within the claimant count once a suitable timely supply of information becomes available."

Ms Reeves said: "This is another error by incompetent ministers in their botched roll-out of Universal Credit. If David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith can't ensure Universal Credit claimants are included on official unemployment figures, how can we have any confidence in their ability to deliver this flagship project?

"There are now serious questions about whether the Government even knows how many people are being left off official unemployment figures.

"It's time for ministers to get a grip of the spiralling waste and delays which are costing taxpayers millions."

The latest unemployment figures are due to be published on Wednesday.

A DWP spokesperson said: "The truth is that independent statistics show that unemployment is falling significantly and 1.3 million more people are in work than in 2010.

"We have been fully transparent in publishing the number of people claiming Universal Credit. To ensure consistency the Department released these figures alongside the employment statistics.

"Universal Credit is both an in and out of work benefit so some claimants may be working."

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