Today, the DWP has announced its plans to relocate and merge Jobcentre services across the UK. This includes the plan to retain Castlemilk Jobcentre, but to continue with the closure and merging of seven of Glasgow’s Jobcentres. Citizens Advice Scotland evidence suggests that the decision to close almost half of Glasgow’s Jobcentres will impact most on those who are already struggling in the city.
Frank Mosson, manager of Bridgeton Citizens Advice Bureau gave evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster, following which they recommended that “The DWP conducts a full and proper evaluation of Jobcentre provision in Glasgow which must give proper consideration to the geography and transport infrastructure of the city.” CAS is concerned that the plans to retain only one of the eight Jobcentres proposed for closure does not go far enough in considering the needs of the city.
CAS spokesperson, Rhiannon Sims, says:
“Our concern is that the Jobcentre closures will have an adverse impact on local people who are most in need of support. The original proposal was to close eight - half of the city’s Jobcentres; following a public consultation and parliamentary inquiry, the plan remains to close seven.
“Our research shows that around one third of Scottish CAB clients are unable to use a computer to apply for work or benefits, due to either lack of access to the internet or lack of skills. These people tend to be among the most deprived, and the most financially vulnerable. They rely on access to the face-to-face support that jobcentres provide.
“Our concern is that these proposed closures remain very extensive, in a city which already has a high number of people who need help to find work and practical access to social security.
“The local CABs across Glasgow are, as always, ready to help anyone who is unable to access these services or concerned about their benefits. CAB help is always free, impartial and confidential.”