New job centre at St Johns Market but 8 will close in Merseyside – full list here
Eight Mersey jobcentres are set to close in a new Government restructuring – but a new centre will soon be opening in St Johns Market in Liverpool.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) this afternoon revealed plans to close or merge jobcentres across the country, affecting some 750 jobs.
Jobcentres in Norris Green, Wavertree and Hoylake are among those targeted for closure, with staff being moved to other centres. The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) slammed the move.
Meanwhile in Liverpool, the current Jobcentre in Williamson Square will be moved to a new home on the upper floor of St Johns Market alongside the council One Stop Shop. Mayor Joe Anderson hopes the move will bring more people in to the market, which has atruggled to attract visitors after its controversial refurbishment.
The DWP says smaller jobcentres will be merged “into larger or underused ones nearby”.
The PCS says the Jobcentres set to close soon are:
- Edge Hill
- Norris Green
The jobcentre contact centre in Bootle Linacre will also close, as will the corporate centre in Birchwood, Warrington. A centre in Solkhouse Court, Liverpool, has already closed with its work move dto Birkenhead.
The PCS says two more local jobcentres are set to close from 2018 to 2023. They are:
- Belle Vale, Liverpool
- St Helens
Warrington Jobcentre will also close over the same period.
The DWP says the closures and moves are needed to “offer a more efficient service”. It says eight out of ten claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance and 99% of applications for Universal Credit Full Service claims are now made online.
It says Aintree staff will move to Bootle while Wavertree and Edge Hill staff will move to Toxteth or Huyton. Norris Green staff will go to West Derby or Everton,
Minster for Employment Damian Hinds said: “We’re merging some offices and locating other jobcentres with local authorities to make sure that the welfare state and our employment support works for those who need it and those who pay for it.”
The PCS, which represents Jobcentre staff, says compulsory redundancies are now “highly likely”.
Regional chairman Martin Cavanagh said: “Today’s announcements are a disgrace and will be seen as such by our members and those members of the public who use DWP services.
“This is an attack on Social Security provision, pure and simple. PCS will continue to campaign against these closures and to protect the services our members provide to the most vulnerable in society.”
The St Johns Market Jobcentre will sit alongside the council’s One Stop Shop. The market saw a £2.5m refurbishment completed last year but it has since been criticised by traders.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “This co-location of our One Stop Shop and Job Centre Plus within St Johns Market is a fantastic example of delivering great value for money that benefits both job seekers, council tax payers and the market traders.
“This is a hugely innovative approach with the Department of Work and Pensions and I’m delighted Liverpool is at the forefront delivering new ways of working to the benefit of the public.
“St Johns Market is an ideal city centre location with its proximity to Queen Square bus station and Lime Street and Central train stations.
“This move is also part of much wider strategy to ensure St Johns market is at the beating heart of the retail offer in Liverpool and we have more announcements in the coming weeks which will demonstrate how we are going to attract new businesses and even more customers.”
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