By Laura Hughes
Published: Liverpool Life newspaper 07/03/17
A public petition has been launched to prevent the government from closing two jobcentres in Liverpool.
The closure means 3000 people could be left without a centre if the plans to close Wavertree and Edge Hill offices go ahead.
Wavertree MP Luciana Berger set up the petition in a bid to keep the last two jobcentres in her constituency open.
She told Liverpool Life: “It makes no sense to me to leave Liverpool Wavertree, the constituency with the 41st highest unemployment rate in the country, with not a single jobcentre and to remove 40 per cent of provision across Liverpool.”
In 2012 Old Swan jobcentre was closed, meaning residents have to rely on the two remaining centres in the area. If these offices close people will have to travel to Huyton or Toxteth to get the work support they require.
Ms Berger added: “Over 3,000 people would have to travel further to get to a jobcentre to sign on, to find work and to attend appointments every two weeks. It would cost people around £8.60 extra a month in public transport costs.”
Last week Luciana presented the petitions in Parliament to show the government how important these resources are to the community.
She explained: “I don’t believe the two jobcentres will close. Too many people will be adversely affected and our campaign is already proving very effective. It is clear from the minister’s answers to my questions in Parliament that these closures haven’t been thought through properly. We can’t and won’t accept these closures.”
The plans come from the government’s strategy to close more than one in 10 jobcentres around the UK, with the loss of up to 750 jobs. The Department of Work and Pensions wants to “modernise” its network of jobcentres – which could also see six other Liverpool sites close down.
Employment Minister, Damian Hinds, said: “The way the world works has changed rapidly in the last 20 years and the welfare state needs to keep pace. As more people access their benefits through the internet, many of our buildings are under-used. We are concentrating our resources on what we know best helps people into work.”