Cambuslang job centre closure raises sanction fears

The decision to close Cambuslang Jobcentre will likely lead to more people being sanctioned, Margaret Ferrier MP said.

The MP for Rutherglen and Cambuslang called the Department and Work and Pensions’ plan to close the job centre “morally outrageous” and vowed to fight to reverse the decision.

The DWP confirmed last Wednesday that it was closing eight of the 16 jobcentres in the Glasgow region, including Cambuslang and Castlemilk.

It said residents would instead be asked to travel to Rutherglen and Newlands for appointments.

The move will affect 410 Cambuslang people and around 600 people in the Castlemilk area who are looking for work.

Ms Ferrier said: “The closure of the Main Street site will have a huge impact for people in Cambuslang, who will now face extra travel which will cost more and the additional time could mean more people are late for appointments and will be sanctioned.

“People with disabilities stand to be particularly badly affected, as public transport might not always be an option.

“The decision to close Cambuslang and several other jobcentres cannot be described as anything other than morally outrageous.

“I will be working with my SNP colleagues in Westminster to fight these closures and demand that the DWP revisit this ill-thought-out move.”

Ian Robertson, from Rutherglen and Cambuslang Foodbank, said sanctioning remains the biggest reason for people attending the food bank.

He said: “I would certainly be worried in terms of people travelling greater distances and being dependent on public transport to attend appointments.

“Further sanctioning would lead to an increase in vouchers for the food bank being handed out.

“Food bank usage is already up. In October demand was up 54 per cent on last year and in November it was 47 per cent up on last year.

“Anything that makes it more difficult to access the jobcentre is likely to create greater hardship.”

The DWP proposals are part of the People and Locations programme announced in the autumn statement last year, which set out a 20 per cent closure of the DWP estate.

The 50 per cent cut planned in Glasgow will affect 68,000 people.

A DWP spokesman said: “Glasgow is in a unique position within the Jobcentre Plus estate as it has a greater density of smaller offices, compared to other large towns and cities in Scotland.

“After 20 years the contract covering many of our buildings across the UK runs out in April 2018.

“This is a great opportunity to negotiate better deals for the taxpayer and by bringing together a number of neighbouring jobcentres we’re continuing to modernise our operations.”