UK new welfare benefit claims soar to 1.4 million, minister says

FILE PHOTO: 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

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has received about 1.4 million new benefit claims for welfare payments as the coronavirus lockdown stalls swathes of the economy.

“It’s now up to about 1.4 million,” British Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said, adding that the figure included Universal Credit and job seekers’ allowance or employment support allowance.

“We are capable of processing and managing those claims.”

Reporting by Kate Holton and Guy Faulconbridge

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