Tory Job Centre cuts will damage lives

steven-livingstonSteven Livingston, one of Labour’s candidates for Langside ward in Glasgow at next year’s local election, says Tory cuts to Job Centres will damage unemployed people’s life chances and could make them more likely to suffer sanctions. This article was first published by Glasgow Labour.

 

The Labour Party exists to represent working people in Parliament.  As well as representing those in work it is our duty as a society to help those out of work back into employment.  The Tories claim this is the underlying objective behind their welfare reformsIn practice, however, their policies make finding work even more difficult for unemployed people and punish those on low incomes with their brutal sanctions regime.

Last week the Tory government announced that it would be closing up to half of Glasgow’s 16 Job Centres in the city – including in my own ward of Langside – meaning service users will have to travel further to access employment services.

Yet again the poorest in our communities are to take the brunt of cuts as a result of the failings of the Tory government.  Any money saved by the Department of Work and Pensions as a result of these closures will only in turn put the financial burden on service users who are already on low incomes.  These people will be forced to resort to making expensive phone calls to DWP call centres and will face increased travel costs getting to and from appointments.

Many people in our communities lack the necessary skills or do not have access to a computer or the internet in order to apply for work or benefits.  There is a requirement for job seekers on Universal Credit to search for employment for up to 35 hours a week, and this is something many will struggle to do without access to computers at their local Job Centre.  Failing to fulfil this requirement could lead to job seekers being sanctioned. 

People often don’t have the time or money to afford to wait on hold – for hours in some cases – to speak to a member of staff at the DWP.  These people tend to be among the most deprived and financially vulnerable.  They rely on access to the face-to-face support that local Job Centres provide.

For people in Langside – and those who rely on the other seven Job Centres due for closure in the city –  it will be difficult to travel to the new location due to public transport being expensive and inadequate.  To travel to Newlands Job Centre from the centre in Langside requires two buses there and back, at considerable cost.  And with buses remaining unregulated we can’t control these costs in order to help people get to appointments. The unreliability of public transport could also lead to people being late for appointments, and could lead to them falling foul of the harsh sanctions regime which is fictionalised in Ken Loach’s latest film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ but which is all too real for many people in Glasgow.

I’ll be campaigning with Scottish Labour Party colleagues, local residents, trade unions and other organisations against this heinous attack on Glasgow by the Tory government.  We must protect our local communities and save our city’s Job Centres from closure.

You can follow Steven on Twitter at @sflivingston and find him on Facebook at livi4labour.

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31 thoughts on “Tory Job Centre cuts will damage lives

  1. Labour have some gall complaining about how the Tories affect Scotland when they stood shoulder to shoulder with them in 2014 to ensure Tories will continue to affect Scotland for as long as we remain within this unequal disunion.
    Labour actually campaigned to keep Tory rule over Scotland. They continue to abstain when they should oppose to support when they should oppose.
    Beyond mere hypocrisy.

    1. …and Mike you have some gall attacking the Tories when you back the SNP’s Tory light budget.

      Rather using this important issue to attack Labour / support the SNP, why not get behind what Steven is saying?

      1. Its only labour who call it a Tory light budget though Scott because they would have complained no matter what the SNP proposed. All you have left is SNP bad. You’re far too unconvincing with Labour good.
        How can I get behind what any member of the Labour party says about what the Tories are doing to us in Scotland when Labour made sure they still had the power and authority to do it.
        Gibbering hypocrisy again.

          1. Scott, working people have seen their standards of living FALL over the last decade. It will fall further as the drop in value of the pounds works through.
            Yet Scottish Labour think it a “good thing” to impose further fiscal burdens on people by means of higher taxation.
            It is always a big ask to get voters to approve a tax rise, but to do it at a time of economic decline is daft.
            Dugdale has NEVER been as well off. The rest of us are not so fortunate.

          2. Yep, you are right. The richest 1% of Scots can’t afford to pay a penny more in income tax.

            Rather than using income tax (the most progressive tax), the SNP will force councils to use the most regressive tax (council tax).

          3. He said a lot more than that Scott. Seem you’re still taking marginal and incomplete quotes out of context because dishonesty has become second nature to you.
            And you wonder why people slag you off.

          4. Scott, Scottish Labours tax plans do not stop at the “richest 1%”. They have a plan to raise taxation on ALL tax payers, but also on council tax payers as well.
            You claim to aspire to be elected to Parliament. By trying to mislead on Labour and tax, you may well succeed to filling the shoes of generations of previous Labour hucksters in tricking the public.

          5. Gavin,
            Let me correct 3 of your errors:
            1. Labour’s 2016 tax plans targeted those earning other £20k. Somebody on £21k would pay an extra £10 a year!
            2. Labour planned to abolish council tax.
            3. I have never claimed to “aspire to be elected to Parliament”.

            Scott

          6. Scott.
            1. How much money would your income tax proposals raise? How much extra spending are you committed to? How will you bridge the undoubted gap?
            2. You still propose a property tax, which does not differentiate people on different income bands. You also want to INCREASE council spending while CUTTING tax on 80% of those paying in? Sorry but it makes zero financial sense.
            3. Sorry, I was wrong on your ambitions. Why I mistook the SEC for a Parliament, I don’t know. One is grievance-central, which blames the SNP for everything wrong in the world, the other only blames them for what is wrong in Scotland.
            Paranoia hard at work—on our behalf, of course!

          7. 1. All in the manifesto. But you are wasting time though, as you don’t believe the richest Scots should be taxed more.

            2. Nope. The Labour CT tax meant people in band A-D properties would be better off – those in higher bands would pay more. You are happy to keep the “hated” council tax.

            3. It’s called holding the Government to account. You blindly defend the SNP. I defend public services.

  2. “The Labour Party exists to represent working people in Parliament”.

    A bit of confusion with the grammer there but…well, you said it Steven,and next year you get your chance to board the Gravy Train.

      1. No Scott, it’s more like a Skytrain—-off to Canne with your old cronies.
        Best hotel, good food. Capital looking for profitable property—property (you don’t own) looking for capital—-what could possibly go wrong?
        And all the spare time you have, you can search for “dusky maidens”. Yup. It’s a tough time for politico’s!

  3. mike in 14 Scotland voted to stay in the UK. and Kailyard how many very well paid SNP people are now on that train. maybe you would both be better asking the SNP leaders why their own councillors are openly attacking the Scottish budget. why has someone like Alec Bell who used to work for Alec Salmond called the Party cowards. regarding the budget. why has Alec Neil got away with saying indy 2 should be put back to 20 at least. unless that is also the leaderships view and we are all being played. todays paper is reporting that there is no post brexit indy 2 bounce. so I think despite public protestations to keep you lot happy you are not getting another referendum soon

    1. Im not sure what you’re point is? Are you saying individuals have individual opinions?
      Is that news to you?

      1. no I am saying until now SNP members have been made to stay on message. they might get some good debate within their party. that will be news to the leadership .for to long they have been used to New Labour style discipline. maybe its those Labour Upstarts .wanting a say in how the party is run. we will see

        1. When you have a message that people are flocking to you don’t have to force them to listen to it.
          That’s whats happened in Scottish Politics Labour went off message with the people of Scotland while the SNP listened to the message the people of Scotland gave to them.
          The sooner Labour comes to acknowledge that fact and start listening instead of dictating to the people of Scotland the sooner they can reverse their fortunes.
          You may even make yourselves fit enough to share Government in an Independent Scottish Parliament.

  4. “These people will be forced to resort to making expensive phone calls to DWP call centres…”

    Tell them to use the FREE number to contact DWP: 0800 055 6688

    1. I get the point about the free number. speaking from experience phoning the DWP is a nightmare . it can take up to 35 mins to get an operator .the only good thing is you get to listen to Adele . all letters go to the Wolverhampton Mail handling centre then on to Greenock. the DWP. told me it can take 9 days for a letter or form to get back to me. they also said that’s fast for them

  5. Rather than using income tax (the most progressive tax), the SNP will force councils to use the most regressive tax (council tax).

    Labour didn’t tell us it was a regressive tax when they introduced it Scott. In fact up til now Labour drones including yourself have argued in the past that it is a progressive tax. That was when Labour wanted to raise it and alter the bands.
    For 9 years Labour have been pressing the Scottish Government to raise council tax in spite of Labour councils underspending year on year.
    See this is why Labour will end up 4th in Scotland and perpetually out of power in Westminster.
    Just a bunch of worthless gibbering Red Tories with no principles policy ideology or consideration.

    1. When did the complete breakdown of your relationship with facts happen Mike?

      Council Tax was introduced in the Local Government Finance Act 1992. Labour was not in government. Labour did not introduce Council Tax.

      And Labour has never argued that it was a progressive tax.

      You just make stuff up, don’t you Mike. It’s all a bit sad.

      1. You and I argued here on this very blog site about the council tax more than once. You took the view and claimed it was “PROGRESSIVE” while I proved to you it was “REGRESSIVE”.

        Selective memory? or willful lying again Duncan?

        1. I have never claimed Council Tax was progressive. You just make things up to suit yourself, Mike. Everyone can see it.

  6. “The comment is placed in context here:”

    Indeed the context proves you’re being a willful arse.

  7. anyway enough of the name calling. no STV news until Wednesday must. must be nothing worth reporting until then. I did see on yesterdays red button service that in Germany thousands were evacuated because they had to disarm a very large ww2 bomb. I have phoned Irvine Beat FM Sunday Talkin on a previous occasion about things like this. when was t he last time we had a Civil Defence exercise do we know why its needed. do we still have an air raid siren system. would we recognize it if we heard one. would we know what to do is there still a civil defence system. food for thought folks along with the Turkey and x mas pudding

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