MP for Glasgow Central, Alison Thewliss, challenged the Prime Minister during question time on Wednesday to explain why the UK Government has neglected to properly inform residents that a local JobCentre would be closing its doors.
Bridgeton JobCentre, which is based in Ms Thewliss’ constituency, was shut down on Friday 2 February, and is one of six JobCentres in Glasgow to close as part of a wider government programme. The decision was met with widespread, cross-party condemnation, with many MPs commenting that closures would place an additional burden on those already struggling to make ends meet.
In a passionate plea during Prime Minister’s Questions, the SNP MP noted that a constituent of hers who is 58, has a variety of serious health concerns, and was only recently discharged from hospital, attended Bridgeton JobCentre on Tuesday, only to find it was closed. Ms Thewliss asked the Prime Minister to apologise to her constituent for not having made her aware of the JobCentre’s closure, and to refund her taxi fare.
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“This situation really is absurd. Not only are my constituents who previously used Bridgeton JobCentre expected to travel to alternative locations to attend mandatory appointments, it appears that the government hasn’t even told them that their local JobCentre has closed.
“Unfortunately, whilst shocking, the case I raised during PMQs will not be unique. People will be turning up to JobCentres across Glasgow to find out for the first time that their local service no longer exists.
“The DWP holds extensive details of every claimant: they should take responsibility for their actions and write to everyone on their database to inform them about the closures.
“Surely the government must see what a shambles this whole process has been. My constituent, and scores of others like her, at the very least deserve an apology for the appalling way they have been treated. I will be writing to the Department for Work and Pensions to urge them to do so”.