A public meeting, addressed by Janice Godrich and Chris Stephens MP, will be held in Glasgow on 18 February to discuss the proposals to close over 30 offices across Scotland, including half the Jobcentres in Glasgow
In December 2016 the DWP announced that it planned to close half of Glasgow’s job centres.
The proposal also includes the closure of 78 of 714 jobcentres in England, Scotland and Wales, with work and staff transferring to the nearest office and the closure of one fifth of the DWP’s 150 non-frontline offices, including benefit processing sites and call centres, with a further 40 only guaranteed to stay open for another three to five years.
PCS gives evidence in parliament
On 8 February PCS gave evidence on the job centre closures to the House of Commons’ Scottish Affairs Committee.
PCS joined MPs, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Poverty Alliance and the Church of Scotland in condemning the closure plans to close half the jobcentres serving the city of Glasgow.
Amongst evidence that was given against the closures, was the rise in the use of food banks, high levels of unemployment and social deprivation in the areas where the closures are planned. For the claimants there would be a huge impact including increased travel costs and the risk of sanctions.
There would be similar concerns for the staff working at the job centres with forced relocations and the risk of redundancies.
The Tory minister, Damian Hinds, also faced the committee and struggled to defend the proposals, admitting he had not attended any of the jobcentres in Glasgow.
Debate in Scottish parliament
The Scottish parliament debated a motion on the DWP site closures on 8 February.
The motion called on the DWP to “provide more detail on the timing, scope and rationale for these closures, alongside equality impact assessments”, rgued that there should have been more “more meaningful dialogue between the DWP and the Scottish government on the future of Jobcentre Plus sites in Scotland, and calls on the DWP to halt the closures to allow the Scottish Government to bring forward substantive co-location proposals to save these jobcentres.”
The debate was led by the Minister for Employability Jamie Hepburn MSP who said “The proposals for Scotland-wide closures affect communities and people the length and breadth of the country. They are disproportionate in their impact and they have been announced with little detail, after limited consultation and even less engagement with the people who rely on or work in Jobcentre Plus services.”
The debate lasted over two hours.
Glasgow public meeting
The public meeting will be held on Saturday 18 February 2017, 11am – 1pm at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HZ.
The meeting will be addressed by PCS national president Janice Godrich, Chris Stephens MP, chair of the PCS parliamentary group and Peter Hope, chairperson of DPAC Glasgow.
The meeting aims to bring together DWP staff, claimants, local campaign groups and the general public to highlight the issues around the job centre closures in Glasgow and discuss the way forward for the campaign.