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East Ham and Plaistow jobcentres to close

PUBLISHED: 15:43 26 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:51 27 January 2017

Plaistow jobcentre in Balaam Street is closing, the DWP has announced

Plaistow jobcentre in Balaam Street is closing, the DWP has announced

Archant

Two Newham jobcentres are to close along with several others around the country as the government targets “under-used” buildings.

Some 27 staff from East Ham Jobcentre Plus will move to Barking while 50 staff from Plaistow will move to Canning Town or Stratford centres as a result of the Department for Work and Pensions’s (DWP) announcement this afternoon.

No redundacies are expected for staff – who were informed of the closures this morning – at the two centres, although a “very small” number of job losses will take place at other UK jobcentres.

Stephen Timms called the closures a “worrying development” for his constituents.

He said: “I am particular worried that people are going to have their own bus fare in order to get to the job centre in Barking,” adding that this could be difficult if you’re “on £73 a week” and have to make regular visits.

The East Ham MP said he is in contact with the district manager to enquire further about these costs.

Union officials have estimated that more than one in 10 jobcentres in England, Wales and Scotland will shut, putting thousands of staff jobs at risk.

The DWP said the jobcentre closures were necessary in order to provide a “more efficient service” with four out of five claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance and 99 per cent of Universal Credit applications now being made online.

The department also pointed out that 2.7 million more people are in work since 2010 following falls in unemployment.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said 2,500 more work coaches were being recruited to “help those who need it most” and people will “have the support they need to get into and progress within work”.

He said: “The way the world works has changed rapidly in the last 20 years and the welfare state needs to keep pace.

“As more people access their benefits through the internet many of our buildings are under-used.

“We are concentrating our resources on what we know best helps people into work.

Today’s proposals include merging 78 smaller Jobcentre Plus offices in urban areas with larger ones nearby, co-locating around 50 offices with local authorities or other community services and closing 27 back office buildings.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said thousands of jobs will be put at risk by the proposals.

Its general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Jobcentres provide a lifeline for unemployed people, and forcing them to travel further is not only unfair, it undermines support to get them back to work.

“We are opposed to these closures and will vigorously fight any attempt to force DWP workers out of their jobs.”


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