THERE are more people looking for work in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells than this time last year, according to Jobcentre Plus data.

Comparing this month’s data to October 2016, both towns have seen a rise in people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance or Universal Credit.

But figures are better than five years ago, and the number of young people aged 18-24 claiming the benefit has remained stable.

This month Job Centre Plus recorded 640 signing on in Tunbridge Wells, an increase 75 people or 13 per cent.

In Tonbridge 740 people signed on, an increase of 25 people or 7.3 per cent.

Surprisingly, the number of young jobseekers signing on is exactly the same in Tunbridge Wells (95) and Tonbridge & Malling (160) as it was in October 2016.

The overall number people claiming the benefit is down 230 in Tunbridge Wells from five years ago and down by 754 in Tonbridge in the same time period.

Andrew Holmes, Partnership Manager for Jobcentre Plus in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Malling and Sevenoaks, said there was no obvious reason for that longer-term dip.

“We are not detecting any reason why. There have been a few redundancies, but there has been nothing dramatic.

“We are getting an increase of employers and they are struggling to fill their vacancies.”