LETTER: Council had no say over closure

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Clay Cross Parish Council condemn the Department of Work & Pensions’ decision to close the local Job Centre Plus.

As chairman of the council I can confirm that at no time did the Department of Work & Pensions ask to meet with me or my colleagues to discuss the closure or to discuss alternatives.

With a catchment area of ten miles radius, many people from Clay Cross and local villages will have no facility locally to sign on or to use computers to look for work or to obtain assistance with forms to enable them to claim various benefits, including Universal Credit.

Clay Cross Parish Council, with the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre and the then local MP Natascha Engel, petitioned and tried to urge the Department of Work & Pensions to discuss the closure, but to no avail.

Department of Work & Pensions’ own document outlining the ‘response to the proposal for the future of Clay Cross job centre’ states that they believe it reasonable to expect claimants to travel three miles or 20 minutes by public transport from their existing JobCentre. Clay Cross residents will now have to travel to either Chesterfield or Alfreton — more than five miles away or over 34 minutes by public transport, in the main at their own expense.

It is a very sad day when such a vital facility is closed to the detriment of the community.

Councillor Geoff Morley

Chairman of Clay Cross 
Parish Council