Protest over plans to axe Sheffield job centre that could affect 'more than 1000 people'

Campaigners at a previous protest against plans to close a Sheffield job centre.
Campaigners at a previous protest against plans to close a Sheffield job centre.
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A public protest is being held today over plans to close a job centre in one of Sheffield's most deprived neighbourhoods which could affect more than 1000 job-seekers.

The Jobcentre in Eastern Avenue, Manor Top, is one of 78 across the country earmarked for closure by the department for work and pensions to cut costs.

Campaigners battling to save the Jobcentre, which they say is used by more than 1,100 people a week, warned claimants would struggle to access other centres, meaning they could lose out on benefits or find it harder to access support to get back into work.

Protesters are due to gather outside the Jobcentre Plus in Hartshead Square, Sheffield city centre, at 12.30pm today to voice their concerns.

This latest move comes after Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh launched an online petition to stop the closure, which has been signed by more than 130 people.

She said it was "shameful" the Government had announced proposals to close the centre without conducting an impact assessment.

As part of the plans the workload at the under threat centre would be taken on at two Jobcentres in the city, at Cavendish Court, about three miles away, and Bailey Court, 3.6 miles away.

The DWP said 75 centre staff will be offered a transfer to another Jobcentre. It has also offered to reimburse job-seekers' travel costs if they need to attend more often than the fortnightly visit required to sign on, and is planning to provide a part-time 'work coach' to offer advice in the community.

The DWP's month-long consultation period is due to end tomorrow at 5pm.