Clay Cross Parish Council totally objects to the proposed closure of our local JobCentre.
Clay Cross has a population of around 11,000. However, it has some 30,000 population catchment area of large villages namely North Wingfield, Tupton, parts of Wingerworth, Ashover, Handley and Wooley, Mickley and Pilsley. To suggest that people in our communities can simply travel to Alfreton or Chesterfield is costly and completely disregards the already difficult problems of poverty many claimants already suffer from. For many people, signing on will cost an extra £10 or so in bus fares, one seventh of some claimants’ budget. The suggestion also that many people can use the internet to resolve the problems underlines the ignorance of the people who decide on such closures in my view. Many claimants do not have personal access to computers to look for work, fill in application forms, ask for advice from specialist staff, have calculations assistance to make claims for new work and universal credit etc. Some claimants rely on others to assist in transport and have literacy issues. Others are disabled in some way but sign on because their disability does not negate them from some form of suitable work. The present JobCentre in Clay Cross was built in the 1960s and since then has been a vital cog in the community, especially since the 1980s when high and regular unemployment has become a fact of life since the closure of the coal mines and associated industries. TheJobCentre also provides employment in the town, both directly and indirectly.
Alongside that, many claimants rely heavily on the free use of computer facilities for letter writing and of course the immediate assistance from staff available. The proposals to close this JobCentre (and others) has been ill thought out in my opinion with the assumptions based on maps and paper geography. We as a parish are liaising with other agencies (Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre, Citizens’ Advice Bureau,
Derbyshire Law Centre etc) who are also very concerned over these regressive cuts in a most valuable service to the most vulnerable in our society. Our councillors are more than happy to be involved in talks regarding this important matter as guardians of the electorate. Please reconsider these ill thought out proposals.
Councillor Gerry Morley
Chairman, Clay Cross Parish Council