THE number of people claiming Universal Credit in Bolton has been revealed.

A total of 32,316 people were claiming the benefit in the town as of January 14, according to the latest figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions.

This figure has increased by 1.4per cent on the previous month, with 451 new claimants.

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These figures do include people who have part-time work or cannot work due to illness.

Despite the increase in claimants, employment opportunities continue to arise in the area, particularly in sectors such as care work and logistics.

The DVSA has launched a big recruitment drive for examiners as it copes with the backlog of missed tests, 300 roles are available across the country and they are hiring in Bolton.

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They are encouraging those from a BAME background to apply for the roles open to anyone aged 23 and over who has held a licence for over three years.

Applications close on March 1.

The Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme has also helped 28 residents gain work, while the Kickstart scheme has seen several employers including Bolton University take people on.

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Penny Applegate, partnership manager at Bolton Jobcentre, said: "Although the figures have increased we've not seen a huge surge in claimants.

"We have seen a lot of claimants come from the retail sector as large stores have been closing on the high-street.

"With hospitality still on furlough it's too early to say if we will see job losses there.

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"But there are opportunities out there and we are helping people get back into work.

"Often it's a case of looking at the skills you have and how to apply them to a new role."