Minister for Employability and Training responds to Government announcement on Job Centre Plus closures – now affecting four sites in Edinburgh and East Lothian
Job Centre Plus branches in Broxburn and at South Andrews Street in Edinburgh are set to close, it was announced yesterday (Thursday, 26 January).
This is in addition to the east of Scotland closures already announced – affecting Dalkeith and the Silvan House branch in Edinburgh.
Eighteen other Scottish branches are also affected and Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn says the move is deeply concerning.
He said: “I am deeply concerned about the closure of yet more Jobcentre Plus offices in Scotland and the potential impact these will have on people looking for support to find a job, and how people in communities across Scotland will be able to access their local Jobcentre Plus.
“This announcement has been shambolically handled today by the UK Government who are yet again ignoring the needs of people in Scotland. Not only have they announced these closures without any advance consultation with the communities who will be affected, they also bypassed the Scottish Government, going against the principles of the Smith Agreement.
“These disproportionate cuts to Scottish services will lead to people across Scotland, especially those in rural areas, facing increased transport costs and additional travelling time, particularly those required to engage with their Work Coach daily or weekly.
“The closures will affect vulnerable people who struggle to access services, including those with health and mobility problems. I am particularly concerned at the increased risk of benefit sanctions, pushing people into crises and desperation, and make it more difficult for them to find employment.
“As we move towards the launch of the Scottish Government’s transitional employment services this year, we need to be in a position where we can offer people support and work that aligns with Jobcentre Plus; not see the UK Government take services away and make them harder to access.”