UNEMPLOYMENT in the Bradford district has risen sharply by more than 75 per cent in the last quarter, according the the latest figures.

The Government data, known as the alternative claimant count, indicated that there were 31,756 people claiming unemployment-related benefits in the latest quarterly-complied figures for May.

This compares to 18,003 in February, an increase of 76.4 per cent. Despite the high rise, Bradford's rate compares favourably to changes in the region and nationally.

In Yorkshire and Humber the increase was 93.9 per cent and in England, the number of claimants more than doubled, at 110.9 per cent, over the same period.

The massive rise in people claiming unemployment benefits comes as the country has been plunged into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest figures have also been released in a week when more than 100 jobs were lost at long-standing Bradford firm Cardinal.

Across the five constituencies that cover the Bradford district there has been a significant rise in all five areas since Feburary.

Shipley saw the largest increase in the quarter, with the number of claimants more than doubling, from 1,538 in February to 3,253 in May, a rise of 111.5 per cent.

Keighley saw a similar level of increase, again more than double, from 1,941 to 4,033 in the three months to May, a rise of 107.8 per cent.

In Bradford South there were 77.8 per cent more claimants in May, a total of 6,424 compared to the previous quarter.

And in Bradford West there were 9,293 people claiming unemployment benefits, an increase of 67.2 per cent.

The smallest percentage rise in the district was in Bradford East where there were 8,751 claimants, an increase of 63.6 per cent.

The Department for Work and Pensions, which calculates the figures, introduced the alternative claimant count in an effort to more accurately show the number of people claiming unemployment benefits following the roll-out of Universal Credit.

The benefit was first introduced in Bradford for new single claimants in 2015, and was fully rolled out by the middle of 2018.

Separate figures also show the overall number of people claiming Universal Credit, with the latest data for June showing there were 57,103 claimants in Bradford - a jump of 67.0 per cent on the pre-lockdown figures from March.

Tracy Othen of the DWP in Bradford, said that due to the increasing number of claimants the Government had announced tha it would be doubling the number of frontline work coaches to 27,000 nationally by March 2021.

This would support people looking for work and help them break into new sectors as well as access any additional support they need such as training and work experience.