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More Jobcentres are to close heaping further misery on claimants

This news post is about 7 years old

​Claimants will have to travel further to visit their local Jobcentre

More Jobcentres are to close in Scotland due to swingeing Westminster budget cuts.

Some 16 sites across Scotland are earmarked for closure as part of a £180 million a year programme of cuts.

These come on top of 13 other sites facing closure, including eight in Glasgow alone.

A total of 20 Jobcentres and nine administration sites now expected to be shut.

Campaigners have hit out at the move saying the UK government was betraying low-income families.

Citizens Advice spokesman Rob Gowans said: "Scottish CAB advisers deal every day with vulnerable people who really do rely on the services that local Jobcentres provide.

"Our evidence shows that many of those people are on very low incomes and simply cannot afford to travel long distances.

"Many are also unable to use the internet as an alternative because they lack the skills or the access."

When the cuts were first announced Pauline Edmiston, vice convener of the Church and Society Council, the arm of the Church of Scotland which engages in political and social issues, said that the move to cut Jobcentres in Glasgow was “fundamentally wrong and unjust."

She was joinEd by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia who said: “Sadly, Glasgow has one of the highest rates of unemployment in Scotland, and suffers high levels of deprivation as a result.

"Closing offices in some of the most deprived areas of the city, risks reducing access to support for those who need it most.

“Tens of thousands of people will potentially have to travel further at additional cost to attend their appointments, while risking severe sanctions if they are even a few minutes late. I hope this proposal will be reconsidered in a way which respects the dignity of claimants and meets their needs.”

The DWP says many offices are under used due to the rise in online services. Eight out of 10 claims for jobseeker’s allowance are made through the internet and 99.6 per cent of applicants for Universal Credit submit their claims that way.

Announcing the cuts, the DWP said the UK’s employment rate is at a record high, ignoring regional and national differences such as the markedly lower rate in Scotland.

“The way the world works has changed rapidly in the last 20 years and the welfare state needs to keep pace.

“As more people access their benefits through the internet, many of our buildings are under-used. We are concentrating our resources on what we know best helps people into work.

“The changes we’ve announced today will help ensure that the way we deliver our services reflect the reality of today’s welfare system.”