Jeremy Corbyn to march against the planned closure of major DWP office

The Labour leader will join the protest while on a tour of Scotland

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Friday 25 August 2017 08:05
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Jeremy Corbyn is currently touring Scotland
Jeremy Corbyn is currently touring Scotland

Jeremy Corbyn will join a march against the planned closure of a major government office that would see 250 workers moved to another site.

The Labour leader is backing trade union members who say shutting down the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) centre will have a major impact on the local economy.

He attacked the Government for what he called its “counter-productive” drive to shut more than 70 processing sites and jobcentres across the country.

Critics fear the move to rationalise services risks 800 redundancies across the UK and the Government’s ability to help people find work in places where there is high poverty.

The closure of the centre in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire would see workers moved to Motherwell and Glasgow, but the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) warns it will damage local businesses.

Ahead of the march, Mr Corbyn is expected to say: “In places where poverty is high and job opportunities low, closing down jobcentres is counterproductive. The Tories are planning to force a million more working people to attend a jobcentre, under its plans for in-work sanctions, while simultaneously closing one in every ten jobcentres across the country.

“That is the twisted logic of this Government’s chaotic austerity agenda. The closures make it absolutely clear that this Government has no interest in helping people to find decent and secure work.”

Mr Corbyn is joining local Labour MP Hugh Gaffney at the public rally in Coatbridge town centre before the march, as he continues his tour of Scotland on Friday.

PCS national president Janice Godrich said the fight against office closures is “a community fight” adding: “We’re not prepared to stand by and watch it happen.”

A spokesperson for the DWP said: “The changes we are making to our estate across the country will offer a more efficient service, and deliver good value for the taxpayer – saving over £140 million a year for the next 10 years.

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“The way we are making these changes mean we expect less than 1 per cent of DWP staff across the country will be unable to continue with us.

“As an example, staff in Coatbridge will be moving to other nearby sites in Motherwell and Glasgow. This will secure jobs and increase capacity in this area.

“Our site at Coatbridge is unsuitable for our future needs and would require significant investment to become the modern, digital working environment we want for our staff.”

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