Unemployment in Cumbria has grown for the sixth consecutive month, with 170 more claims made during April, according to the latest figures.

The latest release of data from the Office for National Statistics, found that 6,585 claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance or received support through Universal Credit to seek work in April – an increase on the revised figures for March, which stood at 6,415.

It means that 2.2 per cent of the county’s population is claiming support, a figure that remains unchanged and below the national average of 2.7 per cent.

However, Allerdale, Barrow and Copeland remain above the national average – and all three saw rises in April.

There was a rise of 40 new claims made in Copeland, which has the highest proportion of the population classified as unemployed in Cumbria at 3.2 per cent. In total 1,320 claims were made in April.

Allerdale and Barrow both saw 15 new claims made, with a total of 1,710 (three per cent) and 1,135 (2.8 per cent) respectively.

Carlisle saw the biggest rise during April, with 70 new claims made. It takes the total to 1,500 and 2.3 per cent of the district’s population.

South Lakeland saw 25 more claims, with a total of 535 (0.9 per cent) while Eden saw a rise of five, taking the figures for the district to 385 (1.2 per cent).

The rises are, in the main, due to the ongoing switch to the controversial Universal Credit system.

And while all of Cumbria’s Jobcentre Plus offices have moved on to the Universal Credit system, the full rollout is expected to take another four years.

But Shane Byrne, employment and partnership manager for the Department of Work and Pensions, said the outlook in Cumbria was bright and there were plenty of opportunities for those looking for work in the county.

He said the Jobcentre was working with organisations, like Inspira, and employers to support those out of work, to give them the right skills.

"It's things like CV writing and even soft skills to help people in interviews, to make sure they are equipped to get that toehold – sometimes it is just getting in front of an employer to show them you are the right person for the job."