Scotland business

Sixteen more jobcentres to close in Scotland

Jobcentre Plus sign Image copyright PA

The UK government is planning to close a further 16 jobcentres in Scotland.

In December, it was announced that half of Glasgow's 16 jobcentres would shut to save money and to reflect a rise in the use of online and phone services.

The Department for Work and Pensions said it expected affected employees to move to other sites, adding that any redundancies would be "very small".

Scottish Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said Scotland was being disproportionately affected.

Union officials said the wider announcement would mean that more than one in 10 jobcentres in Scotland, England and Wales would shut, putting thousands of staff jobs at risk.

'Buildings under-used'

UK Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: "We will always make sure that people have the support they need to get into and progress within work, that's why we are recruiting 2,500 more work coaches to help those who need it most.

"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."

Affected locations

Image copyright PA

Aberdeen, Greyfriars House - DWP administration centre

Alexandria - Jobcentre

Benbecula, Jobcentre

Broxburn - Jobcentre

Coatbridge - DWP administration centre

Cumnock - DWP administration centre

Edinburgh, St Andrew Street - Jobcentre

Glasgow Portcullis House - DWP administration centre

Glasgow, Corunna House - DWP administration centre

Inverness - DWP assessment centre

Inverness, Church Street - Jobcentre and DWP administration centre

Lanark - Jobcentre to move to South Lanarkshire Council office, South Vennel

Larkhall - Jobcentre

Paisley, Lonend - DWP administration centre.

Port Glasgow - Jobcentre

Wick, Girnigoe - Jobcentre to move to Caithness House

A spokeswoman for the DWP said some of the jobcentres being closed were very close to other sites.

The latest changes include:

  • Port Glasgow moving into Greenock Jobcentre
  • Alexandria moving into Dumbarton Jobcentre
  • Edinburgh City moving to High Riggs and Wester Hailes

The spokeswoman said two jobcentres where the distance people would need to travel would be more than three miles - which will be consulted on - were Broxburn which is planned to move to Livingston Jobcentre and Grangemouth which is planned to move to Falkirk.

'Shambolic process'

Mr Hepburn told BBC Scotland: "This will obviously be a very concerning time for the communities served by the particular jobcentres to be closed.

He said there were also a number of back office closures proposed and that it was unclear if there would be any compulsory redundancies.

"It's been a somewhat shambolic process," he said. "The drip feed of information has not been very clear which has caused further confusion."

He added: "What's been absolutely unacceptable is the failure to consult with those communities directly affected but also with the Scottish government, despite the fact that the Smith Commission talked of a greater role for the Scottish government in terms of governance for Jobcentre Plus here in Scotland.

"We've had no prior warning about the specific closures we've been hearing about today. That's unacceptable.

"It looks as though there's been a disproportionately high number of closures here in Scotland and given the issues of rurality and deprivation in some of the communities served by these jobcentres, that again, is unacceptable."

'Hugely disruptive'

Mr Hepburn has already written to the DWP over the plans to close half of Glasgow's jobcentres and said he would also be voicing his new concerns.

Alison Johnstone, Social Security spokeswoman for the Scottish Greens said: "The UK government appears determined to punish the very people who need the most support in our society. They should be making it easier, not harder, to find employment.

"Not everyone has reliable access to the internet or can afford to make the numerous phone calls needed to speak to prospective employers. There's also the cost of travelling longer distances to job centres. It's simply wrong-headed.

"These changes will be hugely disruptive and while the DWP says that most staff will have the option to relocate or take alternative roles, that won't suit everyone."

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