LATEST NEWS-JANUARY 2017
SAVE MARYHILL JOB CENTRE
SIGN THE PETITION! CLICK HEREThe 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. “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?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.
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.