I will keep fight­ing job cen­tre clo­sures

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews - Mar­garet Fer­rier MP FOR RUTHER GLEN AND HAMIL­TON WEST

It has been an­other cou­ple of busy weeks, and I’ve spent a lot of my time on the cam­paign to save eight job cen­tres in the Glas­gow area from clo­sure – in­clud­ing the one in Cam­bus­lang.

Last week­end my­self, Clare Haughey MSP, and a num­ber of ac­tivists took to the streets of Half­way to ask peo­ple to sign a pe­ti­tion to keep the job cen­tres open.

It cer­tainly wasn’t dif­fi­cult to col­lect sig­na­tures in Half­way – there is a real depth of feel­ing in the area on this is­sue.

Peo­ple are rightly incensed that the job cen­tre is clos­ing, and that peo­ple from Half­way will soon need to travel into Ruther­glen to use the ser­vices of the job cen­tre.

Peo­ple raised a num­ber of is­sues – the most preva­lent be­ing that of the in­creased risk of sanc­tions due to the ex­tra time it will take to travel to the job cen­tre.

Job cen­tre users in Half­way will be par­tic­u­larly badly af­fected by the in­creased travel time af­ter the changes, due to their dis­tance from Ruther­glen.

There is also strong feel­ing in the area that this de­ci­sion sim­ply doesn’t make sense – that it will only make it harder for those seek­ing work to find it.

It’s not just the SNP who are op­pos­ing the clo­sures ei­ther; these cuts are so bru­tal that they have achieved some­thing that per­haps doesn’t hap­pen as of­ten as is should – po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus, and al­most com­plete cross-party con­dem­na­tion in Scot­land.

Even Glas­gow’s two Tory MSPs, An­nie Wells and Adam Tomp­kins have ex­pressed con­cern over the ac­tions of their West­min­ster col­leagues – but sadly not enough to join forces with the Scot­tish Na­tional Party, Scot­tish Labour, and the Scot­tish Greens.

It isn’t just politi­cians mak­ing noise ei­ther; trade union voices, the Church of Scot­land, and Catholic Arch­bishop Philip Tart­galia have all spo­ken out rais­ing con­cerns over the clo­sures. I con­tinue to raise these is­sues both in and out­side of par­lia­ment, and will stand firmly against these clo­sures, along with my MP and MSP col­leagues.

I’m also con­cerned about an­other clo­sure in the same build­ing as the job cen­tre – that of the Cam­bus­lang branch of the Cly­des­dale bank. I’ve set up a meet­ing with of­fi­cials from the bank next week, and will be lob­by­ing for them to re­think their plans.

Com­ing just months af­ter the clo­sure of the RBS branch in Cam­bus­lang, it would be a real blow to the Main Street – one which would se­ri­ously af­fect foot­fall, and thus small busi­nesses.

In ad­di­tion, cus­tomers of the bank can­not se­ri­ously be ex­pected to travel to Shet­tle­ston – where ac­counts are be­ing re­lo­cated to – par­tic­u­larly given the poor pub­lic trans­port links.

I’ll be rais­ing these is­sues with the bank, and ask­ing them to look at the sit­u­a­tion closely.

If you’re af­fected by the branch clo­sure, and would like me to bring up your cir­cum­stances, or any points you would like to make, then please con­tact my of­fice on 0141 641 6321, or by email at mar­garet.fer­rier.mp@par­lia­ment.uk , and I’ll be happy to raise them when I meet with the bank.

Job cen­tre users in Half­way will be par­tic­u­larly badly af­fected ...

Pe­ti­tion Mar­garet Fer­rier MP and Clare Haughey MSP col­lect sig­na­tures in Half­way against the clo­sure of the job cen­tre in Cam­bus­lang

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