Maryport Jobcentre at risk of closure
Last updated at 13:28, Friday, 30 November 2012
Maryport Jobcentre may be closed next year as part of a review by the Department for Work and Pensions.
A DWP spokeswoman said that local councillors and Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham, along with other stakeholders, had been invited to comment on a proposal that could mean closure of the Mealpot Road centre.
However, she said that a job centre presence would be retained in the town, possibly working out of a shared office on the Ewanrigg or Hillside estates.
She said that as yet no decision had been made to close the office.
Toni Fowler, 24, of Maryport, and friends Peter Smiles and James Wood have set up a “Save Maryport Job Centre” Facebook page and are asking people to comment.
Maryport mayor Peter Kendall said the closure threat had been placed on a council agenda for discussion next Wednesday.
He said he was adamantly against a closure proposal.
Coun Kendall said: “Unemployment is probably the fastest growing industry in this area and closing the job centre would be ridiculous.”
He said an estate-based office may be of use to unemployed people in the area but not for the wider public.
He added: “Maryport Jobcentre serves people from Flimby, Crosby, Great Broughton and Allonby.
“They already have to get themselves into Maryport and would now have to get themselves up to the most remote parts of the town. It is completely brainless.
“I will be opposing it and I would urge other stakeholders to do the same,” he said.
Sir Tony Cunningham said he shared the concerns.
He said: “If offering a different kind of service benefits 90 per cent of the job centre’s customers I might go along with it.
“I have already responded to the review. I want to know what will happen to people who come from as far away as Silloth.
“I am already aware of people who walk a long way to get to the job centre. They are on unemployment benefit and do not have the money for public or private transport.
“Does this mean they would have to walk into Maryport and then walk all the way up to Hillside?
“Will the DWP be looking at a mini bus or something to transport these people.
“There are still so many questions to be answered and I have asked for answers.
“If people are going to be seriously inconvenienced then I will definitely oppose the move.”
Job centre customers will not be directly consulted about proposed change but the DWP spokeswoman said they would be able to make their views known at the centre.
First published at 13:22, Friday, 30 November 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Having had a look at the Hillside Estate Office it is so small that the current staff of the housing association and the same applies at Ewanrigg, Looks as though the the 'deep thinkers' at the DWP have suffered as serious brain fart and got the cart in front of the horse again.
Yet another short sighted move DWP along with the new online Universal Jobmatch which is not universal if you have not got access to the internet nor a jobs matching service more a snoop on what you're doing service, If they closing Maryport JC and they say they are going to share the office on the Hillside Estate have the approached the housing association who own the office or are just hoping that the housing association will say 'yes' out of the goodness of their hearts? One thing is for certain it will not be rent free if I have anything to say about it.
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