Maryport job centre to close despite campaign
Last updated at 12:59, Friday, 25 January 2013
Maryport Job Centre will close in June despite protests in the town.
Department for Work and Pensions managers confirmed the decision on Tuesday, and it was immediately condemned by Maryport councillors.
People required to visit the centre fortnightly will have to travel to Workington.
But DWP managers told town councillors that jobseeker services would still be offered in Maryport.
Ian Lapping, Job Centre deputy district manager for Cumbria and Lancashire, and Andy Semple, Cumbria area manager, confirmed that they were working with the Cumbria Council of Voluntary Services and Derwent and Solway Housing Association to look at basing a service at Hillside and on Selby Terrace.
They did not know the exact service provision at this stage, although they would probably include making computers accessible to job seekers.
They acknowledged that the changes would put a a number of people at a disadvantage but said the closure of the centre was not negotiable.
The switch means that Joseph Jenner, 50, of Gilcrux, may have to cycle 11 miles to Workington every two weeks to sign on or when required for interviews with his adviser.
Mr Jenner, who volunteers at Cockermouth’s Oxfam shop, could also walk 2.5 miles from Gilcrux to Crosby and catch a bus but he said that was expensive.
Sally-Ann Fowler, of Ennerdale Road, Maryport, who launched a petition with her daughter and other job seekers to save the centre, said she was bitterly disappointed.
She added: “People will have to travel to Workington and that is not fair.”
Councillor Carol Tindall said that, based on figures supplied by the managers, 40 or 50 per cent of job seekers in the CA15 area did not have access to the internet.
She said she was concerned about the DWP entering into such a partnership.
She said: “A lot of public money was pumped into the Selby Terrace offices of CVS but last year the service pulled out because of the cost.
“What if this time next year they can’t afford the building?”
She added that she wanted the service to continue in the present Mealpot Road centre.
Mayor Peter Kendall said that taking another service out of Maryport would lead to a rise in the number of unemployed.
“Do we tell Maryport retailers that they have no future, that everything is going to Workington?” he asked.
Silloth job seekers, who previously signed on at Maryport, have been told that they can send their fortnightly information by post.
First published at 12:52, Friday, 25 January 2013
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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Absolute rubbish decision.Surely Maryport has a greater proportion of people out of work than most other places - is this an attempt to raise Stagecoach buses income?
A disgraceful decision and not much protest from the labour councellors we often elect!.