Clarity Sought Over Jobcentre Plus closures
12 December 2016
The UK Government must provide further clarity around proposals
to close Jobcentre Plus offices, the Minister for Employability and
Training Jamie Hepburn has said.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mr
Hepburn has asked how these changes could reduce access to
services, and possibly increase the risk of sanctions which are
applied around the need to attend the facilities. He has also asked
for urgent advice on the future of Jobcentre Plus facilities across
the rest of the country.
This latest request follows Mr Hepburn's letter to the UK
Government last week, which expressed Scottish Government concerns
over the announcement.
Mr Hepburn said:
"The closure of half of the Jobcentre Plus offices in Glasgow,
announced last week, could make it more difficult for people to
access these vital services. We urgently need the UK Government to
clarify their plans for centres across the rest of the country and
whether we should expect further planned closures.
"I am disappointed that there was no consultation with the Scottish
Government on this issue, which is contrary to the spirit of the
Smith Agreement and it's particularly frustrating given how closely
we have been working to ensure there is a smooth and effective
transition of our new employability support powers.
"My first concern is to understand how the UK Government assessed
how these proposed changes would impact on their customers at a
time when they are increasing the level of Jobcentre Plus based
support in favour of reducing funding for devolved employment
"We also need the UK Government to confirm how the remaining
Jobcentre Plus facilities will meet the increased demand being
placed upon them, and how the additional costs of people who have
to travel further to access these services will be met.
"The UK Government needs to properly consult on any changes to
ensure the views of communities in Scotland are fully reflected in
Scottish Government website