Southside MP condemns plans to close job centres

Stewart MacDonald MSP
Stewart MacDonald MSP

SNP MP for Glasgow South, Stewart McDonald, has criticised plans announced by the Government to close the Castlemilk and Langside Job Centres.

Stewart McDonald MP rounded on the proposal that will result in eight of Glasgow’s 16 job centres closing down, a quarter of which lie in the MP’s Glasgow South constituency.

The DWP proposals - part of the “People and Locations” programme announced in the autumn statement last year - would impact some 68,000 people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit.

Commenting, Stewart McDonald said: “This is quite simply unacceptable. If these plans go ahead, the DWP will be in breach of their own guidelines which say an alternative must be within 15 minutes travelling distance by public transport and within three miles of the office being closed.

“Taking away these vital government services from our communities in the name of rationalisation, with no regard to the effect upon the community and the individuals who access them, is another example of the callous disregard that Theresa May’s government has for Scotland.

“That Glasgow’s MPs had to find out about these planned closures from a DWP whistleblower adds insult to injury. The DWP has made no contact with the city’s MPs, or the Scottish Government, in order to allow us appropriate scrutiny and consultation.

“Even more worrying is that they plan to close Langside Job Centre without consulting the public at all.

“I am seeking urgent meetings with the managers of the Job Centres earmarked for closure to discuss these proposals, and, along with my colleagues I will be fighting these plans.”

Leader of the Opposition in Glasgow City Council, and Councillor for the Langside Ward, Councillor Susan Aitken has also condemned the proposals.

She said: “Well served by public transport and at the heart of the community, the loss of the Jobcentre Plus in Langside is a body blow to the area.

“No consideration has been given for the impact upon those who access these services, the staff who provide them, or the wider local economy.”

Linn Ward councillor Glenn Elder has expressed his shock at the announcement.

“These plans mean another dose of Tory austerity for the local community as they face losing their local office and having to find the money to pay for travel to Pollokshaws to access DWP Services.”

And The Extra has just learnt that the Stewart MacDonald has managed to secure a parliamentary debate on the government’s plans on Tuesday, December 20 at 4.30pm.

We’ll bring you further details as it becomes available.