Site Administrator/ January 12, 2017/ Branch Newsletter, Campaigns, Council Elections 2017, Political Issues/ 0 comments



job-centre-closed The Westminster government has announced morally outrageous plans to close half of all Job Centres in Glasgow. They are: Norman House, Parkhead; Muslin Street, Bridgeton; Easterhouse; Castlemilk Arcade; Battlefield Road, Langside; Herschell Street, Anniesland; Main Street, Cambuslang; and Maryhill Road, Maryhill. So let's focus on one of those for the moment. Maryhill.

1.What's happening?

Job seekers will now be required to either get the bus to Springburn Job Centre or walk. Taking the bus would mean an extra cost and an extra 30 minutes being added onto any existing journey time, that's if the bus is running to time. Failing that they could walk to their appointments which would mean a walk of over an hour, that is if they are fit and healthy. So there is a good chance people could be late for appointments or indeed be unable to make the journey. Given the UK government’s brutal sanctions regime – where people can lose part of their benefit payments for not meeting a number of strict conditions – it is likely this will lead to even more sanctions.

2.So what are the Department for work and pensions saying about it?

Right........prepare yourself.

"The DWP told the PCS union that forcing vulnerable constituents with mobility issues to travel longer distances, will be an incentive into work."

3.Did the Scottish Government know about this?

In a word....NO!  In parliament, Bob Doris MSP asked Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn about these appalling plans. Jamie Hepburn responded that the Scottish Government "had no prior notification, no meeting, no letter, no call, no email on this matter" Whilst the Smith Commission called for increased joint-management from the Scottish Government over Job Centre Plus it seems that this has been ignored.Both Jamie Hepburn and Angela Constance, the Social Security Secretary, will meet with the UK government in January and will discuss the closures.

4.What are my MPs doing about it?

The MP for Glasgow North, Patrick Grady raised the issue at Prime Minister's Questions (7th December 2016), he asked how closing Maryhill Job Centre, in one of the most deprived parts of Glasgow, will help any of his constituents who want to find a job, and why this government continues to target the poorest & most vulnerable in our society. watch it here: MPs - who were only informed of the plans by the DWP after reports appeared in the press -  requested an urgent meeting with senior Department for Work and Pensions officials to convey their fears over the impact the plans will have on more than 74,000 recipients of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. Patrick Grady MP, who organised the meeting, said: “The response from senior Job Centre staff to our concerns was deeply disappointing and they were unable to explain why the public, the Scottish Government, elected representatives, and interested organisations had to find out about the plans from the press before being formally notified.
Patrick Grady MP
Patrick Grady MP
“We still have no idea what criteria was used to decide whether to close one Job Centre over another and it seems a local Equality Impact Assessment will only take place after the consultation period. “The so-called public consultation has already started but little effort has been made to raise awareness, and the consultation will finish in January - leaving only a few weeks over the busy Christmas period for responses to be submitted. “It was even revealed that staff had only used Google maps to calculate the additional travel time to the next Job Centre - which hardly inspires confidence that these proposals have been properly thought through with due consideration given to the thousands of individuals that will be affected. “The DWP must allow a full and public consultation on all the closures planned for Glasgow and the SNP will continue to fight these morally unjust cuts tooth and nail."  

5.The Glasgow SNP Council Group?

glasgow-snp-group An emergency motion was lodged in the Chambers on the 8th of December. It reads: Council utterly condemns the United Kingdom Government’s proposals to close half of Glasgow’s Job Centres. Job Centres are a vital component in the network of agencies and organisations assisting people into work. This proposal will marginalise tens of thousands of Glasgow’s most vulnerable citizens. This Council does not accept that property divestment is a suitable justification for the Department of Work and Pensions to close eight Job Centres at Anniesland, Bridgeton, Cambuslang, Castlemilk, Easterhouse, Langside, Maryhill and Parkhead. Despite improvements in employment rates in Glasgow, there is still a significant need for Job Centres, especially in these locations.
Council, therefore, instructs the Chief Executive to write to Damien Green MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to urgently discuss this matter and find a solution that does not undermine the efforts of thousands of Glaswegians who are trying to find work.
Along with all of this January has been a busy time for our elected representatives and branch members as there was a public meeting regarding the closures at the Maryhill Community Education Centre. public meeting

6.So what is Maryhill and Springburn Branch doing?

Quite a lot and this is where you can have your say! We have already had a fair few days of action outside the Maryhill Job Centre and Springburn shopping centre handing out leaflets and getting people to sign a petition.

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We would be grateful if you could sign it. Just click here. Also, we want to hear from you if you are going to be directly affected by this. Don't worry all your information will be kept confidential.Just fill in the form below.



  question-one-how-to-build-a-school-in-maryhill   In 2009, two local schools were closed in the teeth of vocal opposition and demonstrations. The SNP opposed the closures. Cllrs’ Scally and Letford have been campaigning for a new school ever since. Glasgow City Council acknowledged that by 2020 there would be a shortage of spaces in schools in Maryhill if the current projections are accurate. It has been reported that over the next four years there will be around 800 more children living in the north-west who cannot be currently accommodated. The council started their own consultation, however in September SNP councillors for the Maryhill/Kelvin ward, John Letford and Franny Scally, started their own survey, which was to ensure locals’ views were taken into consideration.
john and franny school
Cllrs Letford and Scally
The survey is now closed and the SNP have had over 300 respondents. They found the majority wanted a joint campus with both denominational and non-denominational provision. They also found that 95% of those asked said they wanted a school to be between Queen Margaret Drive and Gairbraid Avenue. 96% said they would like the campus to be available for community use in the evenings and weekends. Speaking to the Evening Times Cllr Letford said: “There was only one type of provision in one location offered in the council’s consultation, and we did no think this was suitable. “We sought to assist in the consultation by asking questions in relation to the location. We have had more than 300 responses. “Hopefully the council will utilise these responses to ensure the best local school provision for Maryhill’s children.” Keep up to date with all the SNP council group are doing by clicking here.


January saw the official opening of the Maryhill Health Centre and it was with great pleasure that Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, came along to do the honours. Shona Robison    


Nomination meeting for all wards within the Maryhill and Springburn constituency will be held on the 4th Feb in the Women’s Centre.1pm-3pm. Shawpark St. G20 9DA The full list of wards are listed below:





Partick East / Kelvindale

  The full list of Glasgow wards and other potential changes to Scotlands political landscape can be found by clicking here .



alynsmith Don't forget to keep up to speed with all that is Brexit with Alyn Smith's excellent blog. Every Friday there is an update so click here and find out what Alyn Smith MEP has to say.

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