Glaswegians trek in defiance of UK Government job centre closures

Nathanael Williams

In response to closures, community rallies to resist damage of job centre losses

CAMPAIGNERS and local people have marched from Bridgeton to Shettleston this morning (Friday 13 January) in protest against the closure of a Glasgow job centre, which they say will result in extra financial burden to benefit claimants.

They hope that sustained action will impact the current consultation which could see the decision to close reversed in Maryhill, Castlemilk and Bridgeton.

The walk attended by Scottish Green party co-convenor Patrick Harvie follows the announcement by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) last year that eight job centres in Glasgow will be closed.

“The closures of job centres city-wide will almost inevitably result in more sanctions” Lorraine Mclaren

Lorraine Mclaren, a local campaigner and member of the Glasgow Greens told CommonSpace: “The aim of this walk was to highlight the impact of the job centre closures and to encourage people to respond to the consultation in Bridgton.

“People will have to find an extra £3.75 bus fare or walk for almost an hour each way in all kinds of weather.”

Campaigners have decried the move by the UK Government as a “sanction trap” as many of the people who claim benefits at the centres will be forced to travel longer and spend more of their restricted resources to find work and attend job centre appointments. 

“The closures of job centres city-wide will make it more difficult for people and already disadvantaged communities to claim their benefit entitlements and get help to find work”, she said.

Mclaren added: “That will almost inevitably result in more sanctions”.

“People will have to find an extra £3.75 bus fare or walk for almost an hour each way in all kinds of weather.” Lorraine Mclaren

Last year Denise Horsfall, the DWP’s work services director based in Scotland, said that many of the closures would result in travel by claimants increasing to up to four miles. But the UK government had said that the closures were part of an efficiency drive to save on waste and would see other facilities in other Glasgow areas extended.

The Scottish Government has called the proposed closures of job centres an example of Westminister “using Scotland as a laboratory” for austerity and a forthcoming increase in public sector cuts.

Areas that will be affected include Castlemilk and Langside, Parkhead, Easterhouse and Bridgeton, Anniesland, Maryhill and Cambuslang.

Picture courtesy of Andrew Writer

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.