Plans to drastically cut the number of Jobcentres across the UK should be immediately halted until a full equality impact assessment has been completed for every site affected, the Scottish National Party has said.
Ronnie Cowan MP, who represents Inverclyde where the Department for Work and Pensions plans to close the Jobcentre in Port Glasgow, asked an Urgent Question about the closures in the House of Commons today.
The Department for Work and Pensions announced plans for further office closures – including Jobcentres and call centres – on top of eight previously announced closures in Glasgow last week.
Ronnie Cowan, MP for Inverclyde, said:
“These proposals to slash the number of Jobcentres and other DWP offices are completely unacceptable and another Tory betrayal of the people of Scotland. The UK government has shockingly failed to consult with either the communities affected or the Scottish Government which flies in the face of the principles of the Smith Commission.
“In Inverclyde, closing Port Glasgow Jobcentre will force people from Kilmacolm, Port Glasgow and the east of Greenock to travel miles further to access DWP services and this story is repeated in communities all over Scotland. This is an utter disgrace and could push vulnerable people further into crisis due to the added travel distance and costs.
“The added pressure of increased risk of benefit sanctions will undoubtedly worry the thousands of people in in Scotland who will be affected by these closures and today the UK government has offered no assurances to alleviate these fears.
“The Tories should not treat these closures as simply a spreadsheet exercise and should instead put the individual needs of their constituents first.
“The DWP must immediately halt these planned closures until a full equality impact assessment is conducted and a full consultation on all sites has taken place if we are to believe that it truly has considered the views of the people of Scotland.”