The number of unemployed claimants in Dagenham and Rainham for September 2020 was 6,580. This represents a rate of 9.4% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64. The equivalent UK claimant rate was 6.5%. 

This is the highest rate of unemployed claimants since the constituency was created in 2010. It is worth noting that the number of claimants had been stable at around the 3,000 mark until the start of lockdown. Since the start of the pandemic and subsequent safety measures coming into force there has been an increase of 3,845 unemployed claimants.

Jon Cruddas MP said: “these are unprecedented times. We knew that there would be economic repercussions to lockdown with businesses having to adapt to safety guidelines, and many did not get the support they needed from government to survive. Couple with that changing work practices where many are now based at home leaving offices in the City empty, and that translates into job losses for the lowest paid, most economically vulnerable workers.”

The newly introduced tier system means that based on Covid-19 case rates London could yet be facing tighter restrictions again. Taking this into account it is important that tailored support packages are available to protect people facing increasing pressures.

The Government’s refusal to extend free school meals to the most vulnerable children throughout the holidays has also served to exacerbate the financial pressures caused by Covid-19. Jon Cruddas voted to provide this vital service and continues to be vocal on the issue.

Jon added: “we aren’t out of the woods yet with this, so it is vital that government have lifelines in place for those in dire need. With that in mind it is even more disappointing that the Government voted against extending free school meals into the holidays. The Tories are failing families at a time when people are under immense financial pressure.”

There is hope on the horizon and despite the global pandemic, investment continues to come into Dagenham and Rainham. The delivery partner for the Dagenham East film studios will be announced next week, and London’s historic wholesale markets are still on their way to Dagenham Dock. These large-scale investments will bring skilled jobs, and opportunities for young people.

Jon concluded: “things are bad, but I am working hard alongside both Barking and Dagenham and Havering to deliver the investment that local people need to get back on their feet. As we come out the other side of the pandemic it is important that we have the capabilities to support people to retrain where necessary, and create more opportunities for the whole community.”