Nail in coffin for local economies?
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