JOB CENTRE PLUS PLANS ARE ‘COMPLETELY INCOHERENT’

TORY PROPOSALS NEED TO GO ‘BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD’

SNP MP and member of the Scottish Affairs Committee Margaret Ferrier has said the closure of Job Centre Plus offices around Scotland is ‘completely incoherent’ – and ‘need to go back to the drawing board’ urgently.

The comments come as the cross party Westminster Committee publishes its report into the Tory plans to axe a long list of office locations – including a total of eight in the Glasgow area – causing needless uncertainty for staff and for service users.

SNP MPs have raised the issues at Westminster on many occasions and it has become abundantly clear that the Tories have completely failed to make any kind of plans and demonstrate a complete lack of any kind of strategic thinking.

Margaret Ferrier MP commented:

“These Tory plans are rightly condemned by the committee for what they are – completely incoherent and inadequate. The government needs to go back to the drawing board urgently.

“The Tories present this as some kind of well thought out, planned programme long-term planning but we have found that it is anything but – and is more of an opportunistic cost cutting exercise.

“Our report also find that the treatment of staff and service users fell short of what should be expected. This scattergun and ill thought through plan will disrupt so many people who depend on the centres for help and advice on getting into work.

“Jobcentre Plus offices are there to serve their communities, when people are often at their most vulnerable, these proposals will fail to do this adequately. The UK Government must look at this policy again and come back with a coherent solution that works for the people who use the service, as well as being value for money.”

ENDS

NOTES

Link to the Scottish Affairs Committee report

TORY PLANS TO SLASH THE NUMBER OF JOBCENTRES A “BETRAYAL”

“SHAMBOLIC” HANDLING OF ANNOUNCEMENT ADDS INSULT TO INJURY

Local SNP politicians Margaret Ferrier MP and Clare Haughey MSP have warned that the announcement from the UK Government to slash the Department for Work and Pensions estate across Scotland will have a profound effect on people who are looking for work.

Proposals for further DWP office closures – including Jobcentres and call centres – on top of eight previously announced closures in the Glasgow area were recently revealed by DWP Minister Damian Hinds.

Commenting Margaret Ferrier MP said:

“Previous plans to close Cambuslang Jobcentre, and 7 others across the Glasgow area were bad enough, but this new tranche of closures is a decision that will have a profound impact on thousands of people desperately seeking work and the support they are entitled to.

 “Tory ministers have gone out of their way to stress that Jobcentres closures are only proposals but the intent behind the announcement could not be clearer and the Tories simply cannot be trusted when it comes to standing up for the people of Scotland.

 “By making the announcement before the consultation on the previously announced closures in Glasgow had concluded was a betrayal of good will and the expectation that the Government is taking seriously the concerns expressed by myself and the Glasgow MPs on behalf of our constituents.”

 Clare Haughey MSP, said:

 “We’ve known all along that the cuts announced in Glasgow were just the tip of the iceberg, and these further closure proposals simply confirm this.

 “These cuts will have a disastrous impact on communities up and down Scotland – effectively robbing them of easy access to a vital local service to help them gain skills and find employment.

 “The Tories have been unable to answer even the most basic questions since making this announcement – which is completely unacceptable and yet another Tory betrayal of Scotland.

 “SNP MSPs and MPs, with the support of the Scottish Government, will do all we can to prevent these closures, and to resist this latest round of cuts to our communities from this ideologically driven, callous Tory party.”

 ENDS

NOTES

In addition to the proposed closures announced in December related to Glasgow (5 job centres to close and 3 to be consulted on for closure), the UK Government confirmed proposals to cut – 

Nine Jobcentre Plus offices:

Broxburn, Edinburgh (South St Andrews St) Inverness (Church St –  job centre and back of house), Larkhall, Port Glasgow, Alexandria, Wick (Girnigoe Street), Benbecula, Lanark (Atholl House)

Six Back of House offices (call centres):

Aberdeen (Greyfriars), Coatbridge (South Circular Road), Glasgow (Portcullis House), Paisley (Lonend), Cumnock (Killoch House), Glasgow (Corunna House)

One Centre for Health and Disability Assessment:

Inverness

Two Co-location sites:

Lanark co-location

Wick co-location

One Glasgow Acquisition for back of house services.