The Scottish National Party has described the Department for Work and Pensions’ plan to close half the Jobcentres in Glasgow as “morally outrageous” and have raised concerns that the city is being used as the “guinea pig” for more devastating cuts across the UK.
The DWP proposals – part of the “People and Locations” programme announced in the autumn statement last year – would mean eight of the 16 Job Centre offices across Glasgow would close, impacting some 68,000 people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit.
Chris Stephens MP, SNP spokesperson for Trade Unions 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 face a ‘telephone tax’ of calling expensive 0345 numbers every time they need to speak to an advisor about their claim which places the cost of Job Centre closures onto the people it should be assisting – and those already on low incomes.
“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. George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith may have gone but their ideas clearly live on in this Tory government which simply does not want to support people into employment.
“These closures also raise the question as to how staff at the remaining Job Centres will cope with such a change in how they operate and what will happen to the staff working in the eight offices?”
Sites proposed for closure:
Norman House, Parkhead
Muslin Street, Bridgeton
Battelfield Road, Langside
Herschell Street, Anniesland
Main Street, Cambuslang
Maryhill Road, Maryhill