The Department for Work and Pensions revealed its plans to axe centres across the UK in a drive to “modernise” the network – a move which Steve Rotheram claims will create a ‘barrier’ for those seeking work. Tony McDonough reports.
Closing eight job centres across Merseyside will create a “barrier” for thousands of people seeking work, Labour’s candidate for the City Region Metro Mayor role has said.
Steve Rotheram, the current Labour MP for Walton, has written to the Minister for Employment, Damian Hinds to object to the closures.
The Department for Work and Pensions revealed its plans to axe centres across the UK in a drive to “modernise” the job centre network.
Merseyside offices to close would be Liverpool Silkhouse Court, Liverpool Wavertree, Liverpool Williamson Square, Bootle Linacre House, Hoylake, Liverpool Aintree, Liverpool Edge Hill, and Liverpool Norris Green.
Services at the affected branches are expected to be moved to neighbouring facilities.
One of the sites is in Mr Rotheram’s constituency and will be relocated two miles away to Bootle.
Mr Rotheram insists in an area that has the lowest employment rate in the country, the closure will create an additional hurdle to those seeking work.
The Liverpool city region currently has one of the worst employment figures in the UK – standing at just 65.8% – with 72.6% as the national average.
The statistic for youth unemployment is 23.4% – also one of the highest in the country.
Mr Rotheram believes the Prime Minister’s rhetoric on closing the prosperity gap between the North and South is undermined by putting barriers in the way for people who need to find employment.
He said: “Closing the job centre in my constituency and relocating it two miles away will create chaos for local people trying their best to find work, and it will be the same for others affected across the city region.
“The Department for Work and Pensions now has a habit of shutting down job centres right across the Liverpool City Region and forcing individuals to travel even further to look for help with employment opportunities.
“It is an example of the contradictory attitude from this Tory Government in relation to the devolution agenda.”