Sheffield job centre earmarked for closure

Jobcentre Plus, Eastern Avenue - Google
Jobcentre Plus, Eastern Avenue - Google
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A job centre on a Sheffield estate is due to close, leaving residents with further to travel in the search for work.

The Department for Work and Pensions claims eight out of 10 claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance and 99.6 per cent of applicants for Universal Credit now submit their claims online rather than by visiting job centres.

It is thought the Eastern Avenue office will be merged with the Cavendish Court or Bailey Court job centres, both in Sheffield city centre.

The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents Department for Work and Pensions staff, said it 'condemns' the closure of a 'vital public service'.

It said 70 jobs could be at risk.

A PCS spokesman said: “PCS is outraged at the decision to close this office. It provides important public services for the community.

"PCS is calling on the Department for Work and Pensions to reconsider the decision.

"The union branch will be campaigning to oppose this closure.”

Sheffield MP Louise Haigh said: “There are serious questions about this move, which goes against the Government’s own policy on travel time for claimants.

“On a bad day, when there’s heavy traffic, the Government will be asking claimants to traipse across town during working hours and pay for the initial outlay. When you’ve just been made redundant you count every penny and want to spend working hours searching for jobs, that’s why the job centre should be nearby.

“I will be asking the Government serious questions about this move in Parliament next week.”

The job centre in Goldthorpe is also due to close and merge with the office in Mexborough.

MP John Healey said: “The Goldthorpe job centre provides vital local job search help and benefits for local people. Many will find it much harder and more costly to get this support if the government close the Goldthorpe office.

“Ministers simply saying Mexborough is not far away and people can get on a bus is no answer for those that depend on this service, and shows a total lack of understanding about how little spare cash many have.

“The frontline staff are committed to the community and know the local area. This helps them do a tough job better.

“I will challenge this closure, and argue the case to keep our job centre in Goldthorpe in the heart of the Dearne.

“This is the final insult from Tory ministers to a proud mining village. The last Conservative government threw a generation on the dole when they closed the pits, now they’re closing the job centre itself.

"Tory Ministers are behaving like big bank bosses – they’re both closing local offices and turning their back on local people who depend on their service.”