Glasgow Jobcentres must be kept open, says GWSF
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) must reconsider its plans to close eight of the sixteen Jobcentres in Glasgow, according to the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF).
The Forum is concerned about the severe consequences the closures would have on the 68,000 people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit throughout the City.
The DWP has opened a public consultation on closures to Maryhill, Castlemilk and Bridgeton Jobcentres, since these would result in the DWP’s own rules being breached, i.e. travel of more than three miles or travel time of more than 20 minutes by public transport.
The Forum said there are also equally worrying plans to close Langside, Parkhead, Easterhouse, Anniesland and Cambuslang Jobcentres but that the DWP is not consulting on these closures.
GWSF said many of the proposed closures are in neighbourhoods of multiple deprivation where local service provision is vital so that people living in poverty, and those who are most vulnerable, can access services easily and directly.
Maureen Cope, chair of GWSF’s Campaign Group, said: “As community controlled housing associations (CCHAs) based in these areas, our members are appalled at the prospect of Jobcentres disappearing from their communities, and at the impact the loss of this crucial locally based service will have on their tenants and other residents.
“Many communities have already witnessed the withdrawal of other key services, such as local housing benefit offices. These new closures will mean people having to travel further and at additional cost to attend their Jobcentre appointments, and for some people this will prove to be very difficult and will result in more sanctions.
“CCHAs work closely with local people to combat poverty and to provide training and employability opportunities. With the closure of local Jobcentres the close working relationships associations have built up with local Jobcentre staff will disappear.
“These closures must be reconsidered. If they are allowed to go ahead they will put the poorest, most vulnerable people under even greater financial strain and also affect their health and well-being.”
The concerns echo a warning by Maryhill Housing, Queens Cross Housing Association and ng homes who said the closure of a local job centre could potentially increase the problems people have in accessing job centre services and the very real likelihood of being sanctioned.