Catford Job Centre to Close

job centre public meeting ha paula 04 2017
Cllr Alan Hall attended a public meeting with Heidi Alexander MP

The Government has announced that 78 Job Centres are to close including Lewisham Job Centre in Catford.  The PCS trade union has launched a petition here: 

Councillor Alan Hall said: “Lewisham residents need to be able to access government services. Closing the Job Centre in Catford will make it harder for those who lose their job including those who are disabled or sick. This, at a time when they most need help and support. I have written to the Secretary of State to ask him to keep a Job Centre in Catford.”

The text of the letter Councillor Alan Hall has sent to the Minister is here:

For Damien Green MP

Dear Secretary of State,

Lewisham Job Centre

I am writing to you to strongly urge that a Job Centre is retained in Catford. I understand that the Council has been working to find alternative premises for the Lewisham JCP since its closure was announced by the DWP in January.

On Monday 3 April the Council’s Head of Strategy spoke to the South London District JCP Manager, Hazel Renwick. Hazel reported that space planning carried out at the Forest Hill site showed that JCP should be able to transfer approximately 100 staff to that site. This will leave 25-35 staff without a base.

It should be remembered that Deptford Job Centre has closed and that benefit claimants some very vulnerable will have to long and difficult journeys across the borough.

I note that DWP guidance says that no claimant should travel more than 3 miles or 20 minutes by public transport to reach a JCP. 

Eros House

An alternative option to reallocation, one that is favoured by the Council, is JCP using space in Eros House. I am asking you to consider this option seriously.

I would like to formally request that an Equality Impact Assessment be published on the loss of this significant service to the borough’s residents. I believe this increase costs to the Council – in delayed housing benefit claims and homelessness and disability services – merely cost shunting responsibilities and services around the public sector at large.

I would be very grateful if you could reply to all points raised in this letter. 

Yours sincerely

Councillor Alan Hall
Leader, 
Labour’s Non-Executive Councillors

2 comments

  1. It seems there was no real fight to save Lewisham JC and jobseekers are now being diverted to the nearest JC in Forest Hill with travel time from 25min at best and up to 1 hour in peak traffic. Jobseekers will loose half a day just to travel in to sign on at the JD and back when they could be job hunting in the meantime. There are currently no online facilities to sign in online, despite the job search history being filled online by the jobseeker. The JCs are not currently using technology such as face time or Skype to hold a video call meeting with the jobseeker to save everyone time and money.
    So travelling in will not only steel your time, but it will also cost travel expenses. And who’s to pay for it, surely as a jobseeker managing on a minute budget you shouldn’t be expected to pick up the extra costs, or will you have to? But there is no clarity on this given at the JC.
    Overall I think it’s a disgrace that the local government decided to close and divert services from vital JC in Lewisham elsewhere without any care or regard shown for the community or those that depend on it. At the end of the day, make no mistake, the taxpayer who works and pays for this service is the same jobseeker who’s fallen on hard times…so for whose benefit has this all been done?

    1. Job Centres are central Government’s responsibility. Lewisham Council did offer alternative premises in Catford and the Minister wrote to refuse that offer.

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