Council leader reminds people and businesses help is available

PEOPLE and businesses in Staffordshire are being reminded how they can access the support they need despite a slight reduction in the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits.

With national and local support programmes ever changing in response to or in anticipation of the impact of latest Covid-19 regulations, county council leader Alan White urged workers and businesses to find out more about everything available to them.

Latest out-of-work claimant statistics released today show the number of Staffordshire people claiming is 4.8 per cent of the local population – a slight reduction on last month’s figure (4.9 per cent). This remains lower than both regional (7.3 per cent) and national (6.3 per cent) figures.

Next week, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet will be discussing progress on a range of support the authority is setting up for start-up businesses, with an expected increase in numbers over the coming months. This includes a support scheme for those looking to set up a business, a loan scheme and student start-up scheme.

Staffordshire businesses can find out more about the Kickstart scheme for 16 to 24-year-olds, which enables them to take on fully funded work placements.

The national Job Retention (furlough) Scheme has now been extended until the end of March next year, along with the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant and £1.1bn is being given to district and borough councils.

Staffordshire County Council leader Alan White, pictured, said: "This month’s claimant count figure for Staffordshire comes as no surprise given the current climate and newly introduced restrictions, though there has been a slight decrease. The extension of the national Job Retention Scheme is certainly welcome news.

"Staffordshire’s figure remains lower than regional and national averages and the county council has worked hard with partners to ensure a range of targeted support is accessible locally. Next week we will be presented with our latest start-up support schemes, with the first already attracting over 100 applications and we look forward to seeing more benefit in the coming months.

"We understand that support is updated, or new programmes launched on a regular basis and that’s why we want to ensure everyone has the latest information so they can access it quickly.”

Any business or worker wanting more information on support programmes should contact the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub at or call 0300 111 8002.

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