The SNP has criticised the callous decision by the UK government to push ahead with planned closures of vital JobCentres across the country.
The criticism follows a statement released by the UK government shortly after the responses to the government’s consultation on the closure of the JobCentre were published. The statement revealed that seven job centres across Glasgow will be closed from the 31st March 2018.
SNP MPs also highlighted that Glasgow has been targeted disproportionately by cuts to DWP offices, with over 50% of the DWP estate, including JobCentres and support offices, earmarked for closure by the UK government.
Local Jobseekers will now need to travel further in order to attend the closest JobCentre – something that 79% of responses highlighted as a concern in submissions to the government’s own consultation.
SNP MP Chris Stephens who has been leading on the campaign against the closures, said: “We now know the so-called compassion Conservatism has lasted a mere two days. There is a clear link between those JobCentres earmarked for closure and areas of multiple deprivation.
“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.
“What is now required from this UK government is a vote in the House of Commons on this issue and a reversal of this callous decision.”
Alison Thewliss MP said: “The UK government’s decision to close Bridgeton JobCentre is yet another slap in the face to the East End of Glasgow.
“For constituents who are already struggling, paying bus fares to get to mandatory JobCentre appointments will be an extra burden. Increased travel times will also put people at increased risk of falling foul of the Tories’ brutal sanctions regime.
“Ministers have admitted that they have no idea how many people rely on Bridgeton JobCentre, and not a single Minister visited Bridgeton JobCentre before the decision was taken to close it.
“Now they have decided to ignore the results of the consultation and sneak out a written statement on the closures, denying MPs an opportunity to hold Ministers to account in Parliament.
“Today’s callous decision shows that the Tories will continue to treat the people of Glasgow with contempt.
“I will be making every effort to bring Ministers to the despatch box to account for this poorly thought out and ill-informed decision and explain why they have not listened to the overwhelming evidence presented in their own consultation.”
SNP MP for Glasgow South Stewart McDonald added: “After a vigorous campaign in Parliament with my fellow SNP MPs and fighting alongside the local community and trades unions, Castlemilk Job Centre Plus has been saved from closure.
“My delight at helping to secure Castlemilk Job Centre’s future is tempered by the sadness that we were less successful in relation to the other offices.
“Now, more than ever, our Jobcentres need to remain open and local, but they must find a renewed purpose in supporting Glaswegians who need them most.
“Whether it’s helping those who need to find meaningful work that pays a decent wage for a fair day’s work, or assisting disabled and vulnerable people access the social security and services that they are both entitled to, and deserve.”
This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).