Nick Smith MP has bashed the Government for their “google maps” approach to jobseekers’ needs after the closure of Tredegar’s job centre was all but confirmed.
The Department for Work and Pensions left the Tredegar site off of their list of centres that had been saved as part of a cost-cutting exercise across the country.
It means that jobseekers will now be expected to head over to Ebbw Vale instead, incurring extra travel costs and losing another access point for digital services.
The Blaenau Gwent MP met with the Employment Minister before the election to make the case for keeping the Tredegar office open, citing a host of reasons for the DWP to change their mind.
These included the high unemployment levels in the area, the extra difficulty to get to Ebbw Vale from Tredegar because of the borough’s geography and the Public and Commercial Services union’s call for a consultation into the closures.
But Mr Smith believes the Government have made little effort to engage with those affected and jobseekers up and down the country will pay the price.
“There’s a very real case for keeping Tredegar open, but it’s fallen on deaf ears”, he said.
“I’d definitely agree with the opinion that the choice of centres affected feels like someone made cuts using Google Maps instead of trying to understand areas of need.
“Blaenau Gwent’s claimant rate is double that of the UK average. Once you take long term sickness into account, one in five people of working age in Blaenau Gwent are making some sort of claim.
“The job centre is a vital service in Tredegar. The Government should be doing all they can to support people into work, not putting obstacles in their path”.
Mr Smith has once again written to the Employment Minister requesting another meeting and another chance to make the case for Tredegar job centre.