Glasgow JobCentre landlord offers to lower rent to stop closure

The landlord of a JobCentre under threat of closure has offered to cut the rent if it helps to keep it open.

Castlemilk JobCentre could be given a reprieve. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Castlemilk JobCentre could be given a reprieve. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Meetings have taken place between politicians and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) amid fears that closing eight of Glasgow’s 16 offices will harm job seekers’ chances of finding work.

One politician said his party would ‘fight tooth and nail’ to prevent the closures going ahead after the current consultation.

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And now the manager of a shopping centre where one of the premises is located, in Castlemilk, has made the cut-price rental offer to prevent the JobCentre shutting and people having to travel three miles to the nearest centre in Newlands.

The area suffers from one of the highest levels of deprivation in Scotland and is one of three that will be consulted on because of the distance to be travelled.

Alasdair Irving, of The Braes Shopping Centre, said he has had no contact from the DWP about the closure plan.

But he said he is willing to help the UK Government save money and keep the JobCentre open.

He has told Glasgow South MP, Stewart McDonald, who is campaigning to keep the JobCentres open, he will re-negotiate the rental agreement.

Mr McDonald has now written to Employment Minister Damian Hinds with the proposal.

In the letter Mr McDonald said: “Given the willingness of the landlord to renegotiate a reduced rental agreement to enable the community to retain these vital services, I urge you to remove Castlemilk from the closure plans until this option has been fully evaluated.”

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Also set to close are the JobCentres in Langside, Bridgeton, Parkhead, Maryhill, Easterhouse, Anniesland and Cambuslang.

In Maryhill, claimants would have to travel three miles or more than half an hour on a bus to reach the Springburn JobCentre.

Glasgow North MP Patrick Grady said the DWP did not visit the city and instead planned the cuts using Google Maps.

Mr Grady said: “It was revealed that staff had used Google Maps to calculate the additional travel time to the next JobCentre, which hardly inspires confidence that these proposals have been properly thought through.

“The DWP must allow a full and public consultation on all the closures planned for Glasgow and the SNP will continue to fight these morally unjust cuts tooth and nail.”

The JobCentre staff union, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, also called for the plans to be halted and scrutinised.

Lynn Henderson, PCS national officer, said: “These proposals will have a devastating impact on the worst socio economic areas in Glasgow.

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“The DWP needs to ‘pause’ on these proposals and subject them to both Parliamentary and public scrutiny.”

The DWP said the closures would save public money and reflected an increase in the use of online and telephone services.

Under the plans, there would be no job losses among Jobcentre Plus staff, while claimants would not have to travel further than four miles or 40 minutes.