Nearly 1 out of every 10 working age residents in Waltham Forest is out of work and one out of every 20 businesses operating last year has shuttered.

A report prepared for Waltham Forest Council’s cabinet shows how the borough’s economy has been battered by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of residents claiming unemployment benefits, less than 8,000 in February, has now risen to more than 18,000.

The increase in Universal Credit claims in the borough is outstripping the average across London and the number of residents who cannot keep up with rent is “rising steadily”.

Those hit hardest in the borough are young men aged between 25 to 49, while almost half of businesses struggled with “a near total decline in activity” during lockdown.

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Of the businesses operating in the borough last year, 5 per cent were dissolved by May, while more than 3,000 have had to receive grant support, totalling more than £41 million.

The council received 17,000 requests for financial help in April this year, more than five times the number of requests made the year before.

Unsurprisingly, financial uncertainty and other problems induced by lockdown, such as loneliness and health anxiety, has had a severe impact on mental health.

Almost two thirds of residents responding to a council survey said they had seen a decline in their mental health, rising to three quarters for those juggling work and childcare.

Waltham Forest Council offers a number of different forms of financial help for its residents, which you can find more information about on their website.

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