This in an unsurprising story. It is not a cheerful story. It is a story that will inevitably get worse. But it is important an important story for our community in Ludlow and for Shropshire. More people are out of work and are signing on for benefits. In Ludlow, the number of claimants – people looking for work – grew by 8% between July and August. This is nowhere near as big a jump we saw at the beginning of lockdown but it is an upward trend in a time when jobs are being destroyed, not created. Over the last year, Ludlow claimants have increased from 155 to 465 people – a 268% increase. This is higher than the Shropshire and national trends, especially in the Ludlow North ward where the annual growth was 344%.