I will keep fighting job centre closures
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 email@example.com , 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