Statement following meeting with Employment Minister Damian Hinds MP

“I was disappointed with the unwillingness of the Government to consider the circumstances of deprivation in the Alexandria Job Centre catchment area and also to hear of his refusal of Jackie Baillie’s invite for him to visit the area; it is clear that the UK Government are not going to reconsider their position that the current building is not economically viable.

 

“It is helpful that the Council have agreed to work with the DWP to look at other publicly owned buildings that could be used to house an Alexandria Job Centre, at a lower cost than their current private rented accommodation.

 

“I have convinced the Minister of the merits of close collaboration and partnership working to meet local need and overcome the DWP’s financial situation, and he has indicated he would look at such a solution. He is now expecting a letter from West Dunbartonshire Council to start this process.

 

“I am adamant that we need to retain a job centre in Alexandria and whether that means a new standalone location or the DWP co-locating with other public services, the public sector locally must work together to find a solution.

 

“It’s critical that all partners work together to keep the pressure on the DWP to engage constructively. It is extremely helpful that politicians are approaching this on a cross party basis and I am grateful for the strong support myself and the SNP Council Group have had from Jackie Baillie MSP, the Labour Council Administration and other local Councillors.”