Job centre closure plan ‘outrageous’

Leytonstone Job Centre Plus, before it closed (credit Glyn Roberts)
Leytonstone Job Centre, in Lemna Road (credit Glyn Roberts)

Leytonstone on list of 78 job centres proposed for closure nationwide

The government wants to close one of the borough’s two job centres, forcing unemployed people to travel up to three miles further to reach their nearest branch.

The Department for Work and Pensions claims Leytonstone Job Centre is no longer “needed” and that it is “reasonable” to expect job-seekers to travel to its next nearest branch, in Walthamstow.

The secretary of Waltham Forest Trades Council has slammed the decision. Linda Taafe told the Echo: “Vulnerable people’s task, of getting the services they need, will be made more difficult. It is a wicked decision, because job centre users are being singled out for cuts. It is outrageous.

“If you live in Leytonstone it is not easy getting to Walthamstow. The government is careless.”

Linda says the PCS (Public and Commercial Services) trade union has launched a campaign against the cuts, with 78 job centres around the country facing closure in total.

A consultation on the proposed closure of Leytonstone Job Centre, based in Lemna Road, runs until 28th February.

The government’s consultation document says “it is a reasonable expectation that claimants travel to an office within three miles or 20 minutes by public transport of their existing job centre” – but an annex to the document admits a typical journey from Leytonstone to Walthamstow by public transport takes 36 minutes. The distance between the two job centres, by road, is just under 2.4 miles.

The document further explains: “We have carefully considered where the workload and services of the job centre proposed for closure could be relocated. We propose that service delivery for Leytonstone Job Centre will relocate to Walthamstow Westbury Job Centre. Although we expect that this will be the most convenient alternative job centre for the majority of claimants, all claimants are able to attend the site which is most convenient for them based on their own travel arrangements.”

If the Leytonstone Job Centre closure does go ahead a “work coach” would be based in a “community location” to provide “job search advice”.

Consultation responses can be sent via post or email before 28th February:
Post Michelle O’Connor District Manager’s Office, Public Consultation 271, Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1EE

The consultation document can be read online: