LONDON (Reuters) – Britain can cope with the surge in unemployment from the COVID-19 pandemic and the government is working on how to get people back into jobs once the economy recovers, the minister for work and pensions said on Tuesday.

Data published on Tuesday showed that a measure of the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Britain soared to its highest level since 1996 in April, the first full month of the government’s coronavirus lockdown.

Asked if the government could cope with the number of people claiming unemployment support, Theresa Coffey said: “Yes.”

“Meantime the department is also working across government on what we can do to help people get back into the labour market once the economy properly recovers,” she told BBC TV.

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