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SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has condemned the UK government for “unacceptable and dangerous” proposal to shut the Alexandria Job Centre, transferring services to Dumbarton.
The DWP has been guilty of taking a callous and ideological approach to welfare since the Tories took office in 2010, and shows no signs of letting up – this latest closure comes on the back of plans to close 8 of Glasgow’s 16 job centres part of a nationwide cut of 20% of the job centre estate.
Martin also condemned the DWP for failing to consult communities and service users before making the decision which will have a significant impact on Alexandria. It follows an SNP-led debate at Westminster, in which SNP MPs pressed the UK government for answers on the proposed closures.
Commenting on the closure plans, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“The DWP’s planned closure of the Alexandria job centre is an irresponsible move which will negatively impact the lives of some of our most disadvantaged communities in the Vale of Leven – people they have not consulted.
“The Tory government has done absolutely nothing to mitigate our fears since the planned cuts were announced – being unable to provide any details of the number of people to be affected, and having failed to carry out any kind of equality impact assessment to see how groups such as single parents, carers or those with disabilities would be impacted by the closures.
“These closures across Scotland will hit vulnerable people who struggle to access services the hardest – with increased transport costs and additional time taken to travel, particularly those required to register daily or weekly. That increases the threat of sanctions, which is a serious concern.
“It’s all very well reimbursing travel expenses, but that assumes people have the money to lay out in the first place. If you find yourself unable to buy a bus or train ticket you rick losing all of your social security through sanctions for non-attendance – the DWP are not known for taking reasonable circumstances into account. Following so closely on from the RBS closure announcement, this is yet another blow the Vale of Leven doesn’t need.
“It is clear that the decision is being driven by the UK government’s ideological obsession with austerity – and it is deeply concerning that these closures represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Tory cuts. And it is the SNP who are standing up to these cuts at both Holyrood, Westminster, and through the Scottish Government.
“I would urge everyone to sign my petition below. The Tory government must think again about these proposed cuts and I will be writing to the Minister opposing this local closure in the strongest terms.”