Nail in cof­fin for lo­cal economies?

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS -

HOW are peo­ple on ben­e­fits sup­posed to pay for travel to and from job cen­tre ap­point­ments when their mea­gre wel­fare pay­ments don’t truly cover liv­ing costs as it is?

That is the co­nun­drum now faced by lo­cal cit­i­zens who sign on at Moun­tain Ash job cen­tre, which the DWP is threat­en­ing to close as part of UK-wide cost­cut­ting mea­sures, and will iron­i­cally cost 750 jobs. Moun­tain Ash is one of four lo­ca­tions in Wales af­fected by this pol­icy; the other three are Pyle, Blae­nau Gwent and Llanelli, where 146 jobs will be des­e­crated.

The DWP is plan­ning ad­di­tional of­fice clo­sures in Merthyr, Caer­philly, New­port, Cwm­bran and Cardiff re­spec­tively, mean­ing em­ploy­ees will be forced to travel long dis­tances, at greater ex­pense. Re­mov­ing vi­tal jobs and ser­vices from ar­eas of par­tic­u­larly high un­em­ploy­ment doesn’t strike me as a par­tic­u­larly prag­matic idea, and I fear our most vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens will lose ac­cess to es­sen­tial sup­port mech­a­nisms as a con­se­quence of these changes. Small towns like Moun­tain Ash are al­ready strug­gling to sur­vive, and this might well be the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin for lo­cal economies.

En­er­getic ef­forts by the Pub­lic and Com­mer­cial Ser­vices Union dur­ing con­sul­ta­tion phase forced gov­ern­ment to drop some of its more re­gres­sive pro­pos­als.

For ex­am­ple, the clo­sure of an of­fice in Porth will go ahead but its em­ploy­ees will be moved to nearby Tony­pandy, keep­ing vi­tal jobs in the Rhondda rather than pack­ing work­ers off to Caer­philly for the sake of “ef­fi­ciency sav­ings” which will amount to pounds and pen­nies. Let’s not beat around the bush here, the Gov­ern­ment’s in­tent is to up­root its DWP em­ploy­ees, many of whom will be re­lo­cated to a brand new build­ing in Tre­for­est.

If you tol­er­ate this, your job­cen­tres will be next. Build­ing or­gan­ised re­sis­tance now should be our dom­i­nant pri­or­ity. Daniel Pitt Moun­tain Ash

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.