THE number of people claiming out of work benefits in Colchester has dropped by five in the last month.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions show 1,365 people claimed benefits last month.

Dave Cope, DWP Essex operations manager, said Colchester was close to “full employment” and labelled the labour market across the borough as “buoyant”.

Mr Cope added: “With Colchester, we believe the figures are very encouraging.

“The figure here is pretty much bang on an average for the last year so it’s showing itself to be very resilient despite the huge number of new homes being built.”

The roll out of the controversial universal credit system in Colchester has been delayed until at least July.