Council says those affected by closures in Norris Green and Aintree are facing much longer and more costly journeys to their mandatory ‘signing on’ appointments – in some cases two bus rides
Liverpool City Council is again calling on the Government to reconsider its programme of job centre closures.
The Department for Work and Pensions closed Norris Green last September and Aintree in October – while Edge Hill and Wavertree are due to shut their doors on 2 and 16 March respectively, with claimants having to travel to Toxteth instead.
Those affected are having to make much longer and more costly journeys to their mandatory ‘signing on’ appointments – in some cases two bus rides, a half mile walk and a journey time of an hour each way. If they do not attend they risk being sanctioned and losing benefits.
Mayor Joe Anderson and Cabinet member for employment and skills, Cllr Lana Orr, have now written to the new Employment Minister Alok Sharma MP asking him to consider two proposals:
- Co-locating Norris Green and Wavertree job centres in local One Stop Shops
- Placing Job Centre Plus staff in public/community buildings such as libraries where claimants could sign on
Councillor Lana Orr, Cabinet member for employment and skills, said: “There is no doubt that the closures will cause greater hardship for our poorest residents who use these centres.
“It places an added stress and burden on people who are already struggling to make ends meet and the extra cost is money they can ill afford.
“We accept the Government needs to make savings on its building costs, and what we are proposing is a far more efficient use of the public estate in which they co-locate job centre services in community buildings, rather than just cutting people adrift.”