Jobcentre Plus Clarity Needed
19 January 2017
UK Government Ministers have a duty to meet Scottish people who
use Jobcentre Plus to get a full understanding of how potential
office closures could affect these 'vital services', Employability
Minister Jamie Hepburn has said.
Mr Hepburn will meet UK Employability Minister Damian Hinds, and
ask for clarity and assurances about the future of Jobcentre Plus
facilities in Scotland, ahead of responding to a debate on the
issue in Parliament.
The UK Government's Department for Work and Pensions announced last
month, without giving any prior notice to the Scottish Government,
that it was proposing to close half of Glasgow's Jobcentre Plus
offices as part of the 20% of cuts it was making across GB
It gave no indication whether other facilities across Scotland
would also be cut, and while eight Glasgow offices will be affected
it is only consulting on the closure of three - Bridgeton,
Castlemilk and Maryhill.
Mr Hepburn will urge the UK Government to meet the Scottish
Government's employability networks, stakeholders, and the Scottish
public who use these services, before any decision on the future of
the services is made.
Mr Hepburn said:
"The UK's Employability Minister has a duty to go out and meet
people in Glasgow who use and rely on their local Jobcentre Plus.
He needs to get an understanding of how cutting these vital
services could be harmful to the future prospects of people who are
looking for support to find a job.
"I fear that by reducing access to Jobcentre Plus, we will only
increase the risk of benefit sanctions, pushing them into crises
and desperation, and make it more difficult for people to find
"I am also deeply concerned that one month on from the announcement
we have seen no evidence of any meaningful discussion or
consultation with those affected and have still to receive any
clarity from the UK Government on whether the 20% of proposed cuts
across the UK will affect other parts of Scotland, outside of
"With Scotland set to launch its transitional employment support
services in April, we need to be in a position where we can offer
people support; not see the UK Government take it away from
"I would urge the UK Government to visit its services and meet with
our employability groups, so that any changes to Jobcentre Plus
reflect the views of Scottish communities."
Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities
Angela Constance and Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman will
also meet Mr Hinds in Edinburgh today.
More information on Scotland's new employability powers is
available at: http://news.gov.scot/news/employment-support
On 7 December DWP announced plans to close eight out of the 16
Jobcentres in Glasgow. JCP staff in Glasgow were also notified on
this date. Under the plans:
- Castlemilk and Langside Jobcentres would close and move to
- Parkhead, Easterhouse and Bridgeton Jobcentre would close and
move to Shettleston Jobcentre
- Anniesland Jobcentre would close move to Partick Jobcentre
- Maryhill Jobcentre would close and move to Springburn
- Cambuslang Jobcentre would move to Rutherglen Jobcentre.
The eight offices remaining operational are: