SERIOUSLY BAD NEWS
Sharp readers will remember the plan announced in 2015 to shrink the “estate” of the DWP by 20% over the next few years.
Well, here are some examples of this move in Glasgow – where a whopping HALF of all Jobcentres will close!!!!!!
This is devastating news, because thousands of claimants will now have to travel many expensive miles and miles to their nearest designated Jobcentre – and woe betide them if they’re late!!!!!!
Even if claimants are fit enough to walk in order to save on travel costs – and many aren’t – what happens in bad weather? Trudging through rain, hail or snow on a 7 or 8 miles return trip will be no easy task.
The BBC says (just now)
Half Glasgow’s Jobcentre Plus services to close under DWP plans.
Benefit claimants in Glasgow may have to travel further for employment services under UK government plans to close half the city’s 16 job centres.
The Scottish National Party described the proposal as “morally outrageous”.
It said those from the poorest areas would face higher travel and phone costs, making it harder to seek work.
The Department for Work and Pensions said the closures would save public money and reflected an increase in use of online and telephone services.
Under the plans, there would be no job losses among Jobcentre Plus staff and claimants would not have to travel further than four miles or 40 minutes.
Denise Horsfall, DWP work services director for Scotland, said it was now easier for claimants to access Jobcentre services “whether that be in person, online or over phone”.
“By bringing together a number of neighbouring jobcentres we’re continuing to modernise our operations while ensuring that our premises provide best value to the taxpayer,” she said.
The DWP said there would be a public consultation in areas where customers had to travel more than three miles or more than 20 minutes.
Is this, people ask, the foretaste of a full on-line service?
Damien Green’s future of no “stable hours, holiday pay, sick pay, pensions..” or accessible Jobcentres? Or indeed JSA?
In the meantime closures mean long journeys, already a problem in rural East Anglia.
And not every is on-line.
Eight job centres to shut in Glasgow as Tories use Scotland as ‘guinea pig’ for callous cuts.
The Tory government has been accused of using Scotland as a “guinea pig” for more callous attacks on the poor.
The Record can reveal that plans are afoot to shut down eight Jobcentre plus offices in Glasgow,including those in some of the UK’s most deprived areas.
The move appear to contradict DWP guidelines which say that job centre closures should not take place unless alternative premises are less than three miles away or no more than 20 minutes in public transport.
Opponents believe the closures will lead to further misery for those already facing draconian benefit sanctions as the Tories drive home crippling austerity measures.
And whistleblowers who contacted the Record believe Glasgow is being used as a template by the Government amid secret plans to roll out similar closures UK-wide.
Chris Stephens MP for Glasgow South West said: “This decision is simply morally outrageous. It will result in the poorest communities not being serviced by a job centre and make it even harder for those seeking employment to get support.
“Thousands of people will now have to travel further at additional cost to attend their appointments.
“Approximately 68,000 people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit in Glasgow will be impacted by these closures.
“Given the brutal sanctions regime this will mean that the numbers facing sanctions will undoubtedly increase.
“It will also mean that those seeking assistance from the Department for Work and Pensions will have to call expensive 0345 numbers – the so-called “telephone tax” – to speak to an advisor about their claim which places the cost of Job Centre closures onto the people it should be assisting.
These plans make Glasgow the guinea pig, as I fear the closures announced will be used as a template for further closures across Scotland and the UK.