This morning I was informed that the Government intends to close the Castlemilk and Langside Job Centres as part of a government review of the DWP estate.
The proposal is to close 8 of Glasgow’s 16 job centres, with a quarter of those closures falling within my constituency.
People in receipt of Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance will, if these plans go ahead, have to travel to Newlands Job Centre in breach of the DWP’s own guidelines which say an alternative must be within 15 minutes travelling distance by public transport and within three miles of the office being closed.
People in Castlemilk will now have to travel 3.9 miles, taking a 40 minute journey by public transport.
Residents of Langside, Mount Florida and Battlefield now will need to take a 20 minute journey by public transport to reach Newlands Job Centre Plus.
This is quite simply unacceptable.
Taking away these vital government services from our communities in the name of rationalisation, with no regard to the effect upon the community and the individuals who access them, is another example of the callous disregard that Theresa May’s government has for Scotland.
I am today, seeking urgent meetings with the managers of the Job Centres earmarked for closure to discuss these proposals.
I am particularly concerned that there is no plan to consult specifically on the closure of Langside Job Centre.
Along with my colleagues Councillors Susan Aitken, Anna Richardson and Glenn Elder, I will be fighting these plans.
Leader of the Opposition in Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken has roundly condemned the proposals.
“Well served by public transport and at the heart of the community, the loss of the Job Centre Plus in Langside is a body blow to the area.”
“No consideration has been given for the impact upon those who access these services, the staff who provide them, or the wider local economy.”
Linn Ward councillor Glenn Elder has expressed his shock at the announcement.
“These plans mean another dose of Tory austerity for the local community as they face losing their local office and having to find the money to pay for travel to Pollokshaws to access DWP Services.”