Glasgow & West Scotland

Six Glasgow job centres to be closed

Jobcentre sign
Image caption The UK government is to close six of Glasgow's 16 Jobcentre Plus offices

The UK government has confirmed it is to close 10 job centres across Scotland, including six in Glasgow.

The Department for Work and Pensions said online applications meant its buildings were used less.

The PCS Union, which represents job centre workers, said it was "outraged" by the closures.

But jobcentres in Glasgow's Castlemilk and in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, which were due to shut, have won a reprieve following local campaigns.

Across Scotland, job centres will also be closed in Port Glasgow, Broxburn, Alexandria and Edinburgh.

The DWP said its plans reflected the fact that eight out of 10 claims for Jobseeker's Allowance and 99% of applications for the Universal Credit full service were now made online.

But the SNP condemned the "callous" plans saying Glasgow had been targeted disproportionately by cuts.

'Brutal attack'

SNP MP Chris Stephens, who has been campaigning against the closures, said: "The UK government is shamefully yet to publish an equality impact assessment on those with disabilities and those with caring responsibilities.

"This is a brutal attack on the poorest and most vulnerable in our society as well public sector staff in the Department for Work and Pensions."

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.

Closures in Glasgow

  • Langside Jobcentre will move to Newlands Jobcentre
  • Parkhead, Easterhouse and Bridgeton Jobcentres will move to Shettleston Jobcentre
  • Anniesland Jobcentre will move to Partick Jobcentre
  • Maryhill Jobcentre will move to Springburn Jobcentre

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: "We will always make sure that people have the support they need to get into and progress within work.

"These changes reflect the fact that more people access their benefits online, resulting in many of our buildings being under-used.

"We're merging some offices and locating other jobcentres with local authorities to make sure that the welfare state and our employment support works for those who need it and those who pay for it."

But Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said she was "deeply disappointed" by the decision and that it "flies in the face" of what the DWP was told by the communities and individuals across Glasgow.

Ms Aitken said: "What I can promise people in Bridgeton, in Parkhead, in Easterhouse and in Maryhill, Anniesland and Langside is that the city government will do everything it can to retain crucial services for jobs and skills in their neighbourhood."

Lynn Henderson, PCS national officer, said: "While we welcome the handful of decisions not to close sites, especially the job centres 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.

"We will continue to oppose these plans in every way we can."

The Scottish government employment minister, Jamie Hepburn, criticised the UK government for announcing the closures "without prior notice" and with "no engagement" with the Scottish government.

He said: "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."

More than 70 jobcentres are to be closed across the UK, affecting up to 750 jobs.

The DWP said it would be able to offer a more efficient service, while delivering good value for the taxpayer and saving more than £140m a year for the next 10 years.

Its original proposals, which were unveiled in December, were for eight of the 16 Jobcentre Plus offices in the Glasgow area to be closed.

In April, a report from the Scottish Affairs Committee (SAC) said the plans "showed a lack of clear planning".

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