I’ll lead debate over the closure of centres
The fight to save Cambuslang Jobcentre, and seven other job centres in the Glasgow area, continues.
I have managed to secure a 90 minute debate at Westminster next Wednesday on the future of the DWP estate, which will provide a vital opportunity for MPs to hold the government to account over their plans.
Castlemilk’s Member of Parliament Stewart McDonald led a similar debate just before Christmas, which I was proud to speak in, defending Cambuslang’s Jobcentre from the planned closure.
During the debate, I mentioned how the job centre is my neighbour — it is less than a minute’s walk from my office, and that on a daily basis, my team and I see how busy the job centre can be and how people rely on its services.
People are required to actively look for work each day, with most of it done on computers.
Some constituents have trouble with that and rely on assistance from job centre staff.
The Halfway area – which I have been proud to call home for almost two decades - will be hit particularly hard.
It takes about 30 minutes for a fit person to walk from Halfway to Cambuslang job centre.
Once it closes, the round trip to Rutherglen job centre would involve walking for two and a half hours.
Although Stewart’s debate specifically focussed on Glasgow’s job centres; mine will look at the future of the DWP estate right across the UK.
It is clear that Glasgow is being used as the testing ground for more devastating cuts across the country, and I hope to see MPs from across the UK, and different parties, in attendance.
Myself, Clare Haughey MSP, and a number of other MPs and MSPs have also jointly launched an online petition calling on the minister of state for employment to stop the cuts.
It is an undeniable fact that the closures will make it even harder for those seeking employment to get support.
Thousands of people will have to travel further at additional cost to attend their appointments and run a greater risk of falling foul of the UK Government’s sanctions regime.
This decision will also impact Scottish workers who will be forced to relocate to other job centres.
The UK Government had previously announced plans to close 20 per cent of Jobcentres but Glasgow has now been handpicked to take a disproportionate 50 per cent cut to its estate
It is galling that the UK Government has brought forward these proposals without carrying out an equality impact assessment and without consulting the Scottish Government.
I would encourage all of you, regardless of your political persuasions, to get behind this campaign by signing the petition and telling the DWP that they cannot simply bulldoze through with their plans.
The online petition is available at htt p://bit.l y/J obc entrePetition
I will also be out on the streets of Cambuslang and Halfway collecting signatures this weekend with local MSP Clare Haughey.
Please do stop and sign the petition.
My debate takes place on Wednesday, January 18 at 2.30pm, and will be streamed online at parliamentlive.tv
Debate Margaret Ferrier MP (second right) with fellow Glasgow MPs and MSPs are opposed to the closure of Cambuslang Jobcentre