MORE people are claiming benefits in Wiltshire despite national unemployment figures showing they are at the lowest for 40 years.

Figures released on Tuesday showed that the Devizes constituency, which includes Marlborough and Pewsey, had 820 people claiming benefit which is 335 more than a year ago. In Chippenham the number rose to 1,025 which is 430 up on last year and in North Wiltshire the figure went to 735 up by 275.

The figure for South West Wiltshire, which includes parts of Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon, Westbury and Warminster, rose by 465 people to 1150.

A works and pensions spokesman said that the increase in claimants was due to the roll out of Universal Credit which are paid to some people who are in work.

The national figures released by the Government, which are based on latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, showed the unemployment rate in Britain remains at a 40-year low.

Wiltshire figures show that the number of people claiming benefit in April, 2018 compared with 2010, has dropped by 25 per cent in Devizes, 32 per cent in Chippenham, 26 per cent in South West Wiltshire and 36 per cent in North Wiltshire.

Jill Edwards a work coach team leader based at Trowbridge Jobcentre said: "The claimant count is one of the most useful measures of local labour market trends. At a local level it is not seasonally adjusted and therefore we look at the changes on year.

"Areas where Universal Credit full-service has been rolled out should be aware that this will affect comparisons to pre-rollout periods. Under Universal Credit a broader span of claimants face full conditionality than under Jobseekers Allowance arrangements."

In Wiltshire the Jobcentres are working with care sector employers, many of whom are struggling to get staff, to help fill rolls. In Devizes there is to be a special event to find workers for a new nursing home which is being built on the site of the old Anzac House.

On June 13 the Devizes Jobcentre is to hold an Army recruitment day.

Across the county a number of big companies have apprenticeship opportunities including the MOD in Corsham, Cooper Tire and Rubber in Melksham, Herman Miller in Chippenham and Hunter French estate agents in Devizes.