Benefits campaigners and trade unionists are demanding action to stop the closure of nearly one in ten jobcentres.
Tory minister Damian Hinds announced yesterday, Wednesday, that the government is going ahead with plans to close 74 jobcentres across Britain.
Activists in welfare campaigns and the PCS union have called for strikes and protests to keep them open. Closures would see hundreds of workers sacked – and would pile more misery onto benefit claimants.
On top of the closures, the Tories want to “co-locate” 69 more jobcentres. This means they’ll be moved further away to other offices or local council buildings such as libraries.
Many benefit claimants will be forced to travel further for longer to get to their jobcentre if the attacks go ahead.
They will be more likely to be sanctioned—their benefits temporarily stopped—for missing an appointment or turning up late. They will also have to spend more of their benefits on transport while travelling to and from their appointments.
Dave Owens, a member of the PCS DWP group executive committee (GEC) told Socialist Worker, “It’s another attack on the social security system.
“Half of the jobcentres in Liverpool, where I live, are marked for closure. People are more likely to be sanctioned.”
Hinds said the plan for closures will come into effect at the end of March next year.