A PREDICTED rise in unemployment is prompting the UK Government to open more jobcentres in big city areas.

In 2018, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) closed six Glasgow jobcentres – almost half of the total across the city – as part of a nationwide cull, despite strong opposition in the city.

Now, David Linden, the SNP MP for Glasgow East – which saw two of its jobcentres shut – has asked the DWP where the new centres would be opened, and said it shows the closure decision was short-sighted.

Unemployment in Scotland in December was 4.5%, up 1% on a year ago.
In the UK the figure is 5.1%, and the Bank of England has predicted an increase to 7.7% later this year as a result of the Covid lockdown, unless job support measures are available.

In Glasgow the number is even higher.

The most up-to-date rate was 5.5%, or 17,000 people – up by 1000 people from a year earlier.

In parts of the city with higher deprivation, including Glasgow East, the unemployment rate is expected to be higher still.

DWP employment minister Mims Davies said: “DWP is exploring potential options to take premises, on a temporary basis, predominantly in large metropolitan areas where we expect to see increased demand for the Department’s services.

“DWP is currently negotiating leases for a significant number of retail and office properties, in major centres, that meet the planning requirements for a jobcentre, with public access, good transport links and accessibility for both colleagues and customers.”

The minister said location plans cannot be confirmed until commercial negotiations for each site conclude.

SNP work and pensions spokesman Linden labelled the closures a “disaster”, and wants to know the plan for the “inevitable” rise in unemployment.

Glasgow Times:

The DWP closed six jobcentres in Glasgow. As well as Parkhead and Easterhouse in Glasgow East, it axed centres in Anniesland, Bridgeton, Langside and Maryhill.

Linden said: “Glasgow’s MPs warned all along that butchering the city’s jobcentre network was short-sighted, wrong-headed and totally counterproductive.

“Three years on from a disastrous programme of cuts, this Tory Government is now frantically moving to set up temporary jobcentres all across the UK.

Glasgow Times:

“At a time when more people than ever are going to need support from the DWP, it’s imperative that Glasgow’s jobcentre network is well supported and widely accessible to the public. Ministers need to be clear what their intentions are for what will inevitably be increased demand in Glasgow.

“I have written to the Employment Minister demanding to know where Glasgow stands.”