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Wednesday, 05 July 2017

DWP confirm closure of 10 Scottish jobcentres with six going in Glasgow

Written by The Press Association

A total of 10 jobcentres across Scotland are to close, including six in Glasgow, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed.

Some smaller jobcentres will be merged with larger ones under the proposals while others will be co-located with local government premises.

The department first announced closure plans at the turn of the year and has now confirmed 21 of its 119 offices in Scotland will close, including 10 jobcentres.

A consultation was held on merging JobCentre Plus offices in Bridgeton, Broxburn, Maryhill and Castlemilk with nearby sites, and the mergers for all but the latter will go ahead.

A DWP spokeswoman said the move reflects a near record low in the Scottish unemployment rate and increasing use of online claims.

She said: "Our aim is to reduce under-utilisation and save money, but also to provide a better service to our customers.

"In Scotland, we are moving towards a future of bigger, more modern and fully digital offices, and can confirm that our future estate will consist of 98 offices - a small overall reduction of 21 sites.

"We will keep 85 jobcentres - a reduction of 10 - and the number of administrative offices will change from 24 to 13.

"We will also keep 10 CHDAs (centres for health and disability assessments) moving three of them into nearby existing sites."

The Scottish Government, Labour and the PCS union criticised the closures.

PCS national officer Lynn Henderson said "PCS utterly condemns DWP for proceeding with these office closures.

"While we welcome the handful of decisions not to close sites, especially the jobcentres in Castlemilk and Cambuslang, it is clear that DWP intends to force through the vast majority, putting our members' jobs at risk and devastating the job centre network and services we provide.

"This Tory government is abandoning unemployed, sick and disabled people, making it harder for them to access the service they need, and putting jobcentre jobs at risk."

Employability and training minister Jamie Hepburn said the closures could " push vulnerable Scots further into crisis".

He said: "This makes it even more difficult for people to visit their jobcentre to try to find employment and will lead to many more people having to travel further to engage with their work coach."

He criticised the UK Government for failing to engage with the Scottish Government on the issue, adding: " Not only does this process of closures harm the most vulnerable but it completely calls into question how serious the UK Government is about the devolution process itself."

Labour MP Paul Sweeney said: "Scottish Labour condemns this nonsensical decision from a Tory government that is completely out of touch.

"The UK Government should be making it easier to get into the jobs market, not harder, especially in areas of Glasgow like Springburn in my constituency that should be a priority for supporting people getting into employment.

"Tory cuts to social security and new sanctions for low-paid workers will only increase demand for jobcentres, so it's reckless and perverse for the government to close so many down."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Danny Lawson / PA Wire.