Nearly one-in-five people in Hyndburn are now on Universal Credit, with the figure rising month-on-month in the lead up to the second national lockdown.

As of October, 9,485 residents were claiming benefits through the system, the latest provisional figures from the Department of Work and Pensions have revealed, a slight rise from the previous month and up by more than 4,000 since January.

The rate of Hyndburn people aged 16 to 64 claiming is now 19 per cent.

The Lancashire total of 146,281 people has risen substantially each month since March, adding up to a 73 per cent increase from 84,349 claimants in the month the first national lockdown began.

Sara Willcocks, head of external affairs at poverty charity Turn2us, said: “These new Universal Credit figures clearly show the pandemic’s profound and devastating impact on people’s income, employment and how close to the cliff edge many of us are - even prior to the first lockdown.

“Recent government schemes have protected some people from the economic consequences of the pandemic, yet there’s more that needs to be done.

“A Universal Credit system that is fit for purpose would do much to help people recover and to loosen poverty’s grip.

“If this government truly wants to stop people from being pulled into homelessness, hunger and debt, we urge them to increase to the child element of Universal Credit, maintain the increase to Local Housing Allowance rates and urgently review policies like the Benefit Cap and Two-child Limit.”

A government spokesperson said: “We are wholly committed to supporting the lowest paid families and our policies, in particular those related to the pandemic, are under constant review.”

They added that they have recently confirmed the £20 UC uplift will remain in place until March 2021 and that they have already taken steps to help ease the burden of UC debt repayments, including reducing the maximum deduction from 40 per cent to 30pc of a claimant’s standard allowance.

From October 2021 they will reduce this further to 25pc, and will double the time available to repay an advance to 24 months.

For the latest news and breaking news visit the LancsLive website.

Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you.

Have you got news for us? Contact our newsdesk on [email protected]

You can sign up for free daily updates with the LancsLive newsletter here.