THE number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants in Devon has increased slightly for the second month in a row.

During December, 2013, the number of people claiming JSA increased by 88 claimants (1.3%) and now stands at 6,667.

Though this contrasts with the national trend, which has seen a decrease, the JSA claimant rate in Devon stands at 1.5% of the working age population, which is around half the national rate of 2.9%.

Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council cabinet member for economy and growth, said: “The slight increase in claimant numbers across Devon is unwelcome, but not unexpected at this time of year.

“This, however, provides further evidence to support our efforts to lobby for increased Assisted Areas Status coverage across Devon, and justifies the inclusion of Devon wards within the Assisted Areas map, particularly in northern Devon and Teignbridge.

“Devon County Council is working closely with the Heart of the South- West Local Enterprise Partnership, Devon MPs, district councils and central Government to help achieve this.”