Posts Tagged ‘DW’
Job Centre closures in Scotland were announced a few months ago.
Today (Welfare Weekly):
The Scottish National Party has condemned Scottish Secretary David Mundell for ‘failing to lift a finger’ to prevent the UK Government from shutting half of the job centres in Glasgow, as the campaign against closures gathers pace.
A consultation on closing 8 of the city’s 16 job centres – first revealed last month – comes to a close at the end of January. The SNP’s MPs, MSPs and councillors in Glasgow are encouraging the public to sign a petition against the plans.
A cross-party letter to David Mundell asking the Scottish Secretary to back the campaign – whose signatories include all of Glasgow’s MPs and MSPs except the two Conservative MSPs – has gone unanswered.
Repeatedly pressed on the issue in the House of Commons this week, Mr Mundell failed to give any commitment to lobby the DWP to halt the closures, and could only say that he hoped that they would not impact on service users.
The SNP’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson called David Mundell’s failure to speak out against the closures a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” – and questioned what the purpose of the Scottish Secretary was if not to speak up for Scotland at the Cabinet table.
Commenting Angus Robertson MP said: “Tory plans to close half of Glasgow’s jobcentres are wrong-headed and completely counterproductive – and their flawed consultation process only adds insult to injury.
“The SNP has been actively opposing this issue – and just this week we led debates in both the House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament – but our attempts to get the Scottish Secretary to join us in calling on the DWP to halt these plans have fallen on deaf ears.
“In fact, there is no evidence that David Mundell has so much as lifted a finger to prevent these closures – or even soften the blow.
“Given the potentially devastating effect that these closures will have on some very vulnerable people in Glasgow, his failure to speak out is frankly a disgraceful dereliction of duty.
“It is completely unacceptable that Glasgow, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, is set to be the first part of the UK to have job centre closures imposed on it – and at a disproportionately high level.
“We will not accept being dragged back to the bad old days of Tory governments – with no mandate north of the border – treating Scotland as a guinea pig for their unpopular policies and doing anything they want.
“But there is also a wider issue here. If Mr Mundell has – as is evident – done so little to fight Scotland’s corner on the issue of job centre closures, then what hope do we have that he has done anything behind the scenes to keep Scotland in the single market as part of the Brexit negotiations?
“The Scottish Secretary should be fighting for Scotland’s interests in Cabinet – not the other way around – and if Mr Mundell is unwilling to do that, then you have to wonder what the point is in there being a Scottish Secretary.”
This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP). Opinions are those of the author only.
Some of the campaigning activities that the GEC and local reps have been involved in include:
- Members meetings at each site on the day of the announcement with a GEC member or Full time officer present on every site threatened with closure
- Briefing local press and radio that delivered same day coverage of the announcement in the Daily Record and other media outlets in Scotland
- Sustained press interest in this story ensuring there is ongoing press coverage on the proposed closures.
- Meeting and briefing local Glasgow MPs, resulting in a question being put at Prime minister’s questions on the day of the closure announcement. Also briefing the shadow Labour minister on the closures.
- Public meetings being held in locations close to the threatened job centres
- Organising a city wide public meeting on the closures
- A full debate on the closures in the House of Commons, called by the chair of the PCS Parliamentary Group, SNP MP Chris Stephens and a meeting between the government minister and the Glasgow MPs.
- Hold further meetings with members on the sites threatened with closure to get their feedback and to discuss the next steps.
PCS has pressed hard for a meeting with DWP management where we will continue to fight to protect members’ jobs and conditions and to make the case for expanding local job centre provision not closing it. DWP have agreed to further discussions with us on 10th January. No further announcements of the future of DWP offices will be made in the meantime.
The GEC is also working with the Glasgow branches on preparing a detailed response to the consultation on the proposed closures.
Further announcements of closures in other parts of the country are still expected. The GEC will work closely with branches and regions in protecting our members and defending services to the public, both on announcements that have already been made and on ones still to come.
This may have been overlooked,
The government is to introduce pre-paid benefit cards to stop claimants spending their money on alcohol, drugs or gambling .
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said it would help those “on the margins break the cycle of poverty”.
The cards could only be used for some items in some stores, and would not be valid in betting shops or off licences.
The scheme will be initially piloted on a voluntary basis and will be targeted on those with addiction problems.
The BBC’s assistant political editor Norman Smith said government sources said the move was aimed at helping claimants with drug or alcohol issues and protecting their families.
An estimated one in 15 working-age benefit claimants in England suffer from addiction to drugs, such as crack-cocaine and heroin, while an estimated one in 25 working-age benefit claimants is suffering from alcohol dependency.
Clearly some people will make a lot of money out of these cards, so we can expect pressure to grow for them to be used for all claimants.
When the state makes judgments about necessities and enforces it on the vulnerable, we create a “peasant” and “benevolent benefactor” dichotomy. This is neither progressive nor morally sound. The welfare state is a safety net to which we all contribute so that if circumstance dictates, we may use it: something those least likely to ever need it conveniently forget. When we start incorporating punitive addendums, we lose sight of the wider issue. The poor are instantly stigmatised through a caricature of recklessness and fecklessness: the undeserving lumpenproletariat in need of correction through fiscal imprisonment.
So much for the party of “freedom of choice”!