Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, has condemned today’s (Thursday) decision by the UK Government’s to close Bridgeton JobCentre, leaving only one JobCentre office in the East End of Glasgow.
The UK Government published a statement confirming that Bridgeton JobCentre, along with 6 other JobCentres in Glasgow, will be closed from 31st March 2018. The statement was released shortly after the responses to the Government’s consultation on the closure of the JobCentre were published, which demonstrated significant opposition to the closure proposals. 64% of the responses expressed concerns that local services in Bridgeton would suffer as a result of closing Bridgeton JobCentre and that jobseekers would find it more difficult to make ends meet due to increased travel costs to other JobCentres.
Glasgow has been targeted disproportionate cuts to DWP offices, with over 50% of the DWP estate, including JobCentres and support offices, earmarked for closure by the UK Government. Local Jobseekers will now need to travel over three miles to attend appointments at Shettleston JobCentre – something that 79% of consultation responses highlighted as a concern in their submissions to the Government’s own consultation.
The decision will also put considerable pressure on JobCentre staff – the full extent of which is unclear as Ministers have previously admitted, in responses to written questions tabled by Ms Thewliss, that they do not know how many people currently use Bridgeton JobCentre.
Commenting on the decision, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“The UK Government’s decision to close Bridgeton JobCentre is yet another slap in the face to the East End of Glasgow. For constituents who are already struggling, paying bus fares to get to mandatory JobCentre appointments will be an extra burden. Increased travel times will also put people at increased risk of falling foul of the Tories’ brutal sanctions regime.
“Ministers have admitted that they have no idea how many people rely on Bridgeton JobCentre, and not a single Minister visited Bridgeton JobCentre before the decision was taken to close it. Now they have decided to ignore the results of the consultation and sneak out a written statement on the closures, denying MPs an opportunity to hold Ministers to account in Parliament.
“Today’s callous decision shows that the Tories will continue to treat the people of Glasgow with contempt. I will be making every effort to bring Ministers to the despatch box to account for this poorly thought out and ill-informed decision and explain why they have not listened to the overwhelming evidence presented in their own consultation.”