The Scottish Government is to lead a debate on the recently announced closures of job centres across Scotland – with SNP members set to condemn the callous Tory government cuts that are set to hit some of Scotland’s poorest communities.
The proposed closures, which are going ahead without prior consultation as part of an ideologically-motivated campaign by the Tories, are set to have a deeply damaging impact on the most vulnerable people across Scotland – raising travel costs and making services less accessible.
The cuts, which will close more than 20 job centre sites across Scotland, have been condemned by the Scottish Government, the TUC, the Church of Scotland and charities including One Parent Families Scotland.
SNP MSP Bob Doris is calling on the DWP to carry out a full equality impact assessment to study the damage that the closures will have on people across Scotland – and will challenge opposition Tory MSPs to back these calls.
The Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster is also holding an evidence session on the closures today.
Commenting, Mr Doris, who is convener of Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee, said: “These reckless UK government cuts show just how little they care about protecting our communities and providing people with the support they need.
“We have seen this week the Church of Scotland add its voice to the mounting chorus of those opposing these cuts, which will make these vital frontline services less accessible and increasing the risk of sanctions, cause the breakdown of relationships between claimant and job coach, and result in additional travel costs for the very people who can afford this the least.
“One Parent Families Scotland have said the proposals will simply push more people into poverty.
“I urge the UK government to carry out full equality impact assessments at all the sites that have been marked for closure – and hope that Tory MSPs back these efforts. Anything less would be yet another Tory betrayal of Scotland.”
Margaret Ferrier MP, member of the Scottish Affairs Committee, said: “The UK Government has been desperate to down-play the impact of these proposals, but if these closures go ahead it will cause real difficulty and hardship for the thousands of people who rely on their local Jobcentre.
“And we are still waiting for further information about the equality impact assessment, staff redundancies, and what impact these closures will have on sanctioning.
“It is important to understand the effect that these closures could potentially have on the lives of those in need of Jobcentre services, and the extent to which the Department for Work and Pensions have assessed the levels of support needed to ensure that there will be no adverse consequences.”
This is an official and unedited press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).