May 4, 2020 / 3:19 PM / a month ago

UK welfare claims jump to six times pre-virus levels

Britain's Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey is seen outside Downing Street, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government received 1.8 million claims for welfare payments between March 16 and the end of April via its ‘Universal Credit’ benefits system, work and pensions minister Therese Coffey said on Monday.

Universal Credit benefits are paid to people in work as well as those who have lost their jobs.

Coffey said that overall, the volume of welfare claims had been six times bigger than pre-coronavirus during that period, and that in one particular week the increase had been tenfold.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon, writing by William James; editing by Stephen Addison

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