THE number of Cheshire residents claiming unemployment benefits has risen again according to the latest figures taken during the pandemic.

It comes at the UK entered its largest recession on record on Wednesday, while foodbanks in Cheshire have already warned about a looming rise in demand when the furlough scheme ends in October.

Office for National Statistics data shows 10,860 people were claiming out-of-work benefits in Cheshire East as of July 9, plus 11,450 people in Cheshire West.

That compares to just 4,680 in Cheshire East in early March, and 5,380 in Cheshire West at the same time.

It means that 4.8 per cent of Cheshire East's working population is now claiming unemployment benefits, alongside 5.5 per cent in Cheshire West.

Both boroughs saw a slight increase over June, when there were 10,645 claimants in Cheshire East and 11,285 in Cheshire West.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "I’ve always been clear that we can’t protect every job, but through our Plan For Jobs we have a clear plan to protect, support and create jobs to ensure that nobody is left without hope.”

However, anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns many could be facing 'grinding pressure and uncertainty' about how to make ends meet as Government job support schemes wind down.

It is a concern shared by Hope Central, Mid Cheshire and Middlewich foodbanks, who have all previously told the Guardian they expect demand to continue or increase this autumn.

Ian Robertson, from Hope Central, said: "Covid-19 is likely to be with us for a while yet, and it is impacting more and more people every day."

Rachel Pendleton, from Middlewich and District Foodbank, added: “Although I think things will quieten down in the short-term, as children return to school, as soon as businesses have problems I think people might start struggling again.”