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Unemployment Woman rushes to benefit meeting at closed centre

A SERIOUSLY unwell woman spent a tenner rushing to a mandatory appointment at a closed jobcentre because the government failed to inform her it had shut, MPs heard yesterday.

The unnamed 58-year-old, who has a variety of major health conditions and was only recently discharged from hospital, travelled to Bridgeton jobcentre in Glasgow on Tuesday.

However the jobcentre had been closed down on Friday as part of the government’s wider cost-cutting programme.

The centre is one of six in the city and 10 across Scotland to close.

Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss called the situation a “shambles” and “absurd” after raising the issue in PMQs.

She said: “Not only are my constituents who previously used Bridgeton jobcentre expected to travel to alternative locations to attend mandatory appointments, it appears that the government hasn’t even told them that their current centre has closed.

“Unfortunately, whilst shocking, the case I raised during PMQs will not be unique.

“People will be turning up to jobcentres across Glasgow to find out for the first time that their local service no longer exists.”

The SNP MP pointed out that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) holds extensive details of every claimant and should take responsibility to inform them.

She urged the government to apologise and refund the woman’s taxi fare.

The closure programme has been condemned by MPs and jobcentre union PCS for forcing vulnerable claimants to travel further for appointments.

A PCS spokesman said: “We welcome the support of opposition MPs who have helped point out the consequences of these dreadful decisions.”

The union has fought a vigorous campaign to keep jobcentres open across the country, including taking industrial action in England.

A DWP spokesperson said the closures represent “good value for the taxpayer” by saving over £135 million a year for the next decade.

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