THE number of young people claiming benefits in the Wee County has spiked since the coronavirus pandemic.

Recent data from the Department for Work and Pensions has shown that 1,032 people between the ages of 16-24 in Clackmannanshire were on Universal Credit as of August 13.

This was 362 more than the 670 who were claiming the benefit in early March, before the country went into lockdown, bringing large parts of the economy to a halt.

The figures include people in work and on a low income or those not working because of health or caring commitments, alongside those who are unemployed and searching for a job.

Clackmannanshire's young people joined the ranks of 83,278 others in the age group across Scotland who were seeking support in August, up from 44,895 in March.

Across Great Britain, the figure almost doubled to 938,000 over the first five months of the Covid-19 crisis, with every area seeing an increase in the number of young Universal Credit claimants over the period.

Separate Office for National Statistics figures show rising unemployment has hit young people the hardest, with the number of 16-24-year-olds in employment across the UK dropping by more than 150,000 in the three months to July.

The Intergenerational Foundation charity says younger people will be left to pay the bill for protecting older generations for decades to come after suffering a "massive blow" to their income and job prospects.

Ashley Seager, co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, said: "These statistics demonstrate the intergenerational unfairness in the Government's approach to Covid.

"Our youngest workers are now starting to suffer a massive blow to their incomes and job prospects."