The SNP conference has strongly condemned UK government plans to close Jobcentres in Scotland, urging the Tories to have a rethink on its proposals which are set to have a damaging impact on communities across Scotland.
The UK government is proposing to close up to 23 Jobcentre Plus sites across Scotland – and 50% of sites in Glasgow.
The Scottish Government and SNP say they have been active at Westminster in their efforts to force the UK government into reversing these plans, which they say have had no equality impact assessments and have not been fully consulted on before taking forward.
The proposals are set to have a deeply damaging impact on communities across Scotland, say the SNP, disproportionately impacting on those with low incomes and disabilities.
SNP conference also called on the UK government to adhere to the Smith Commission, which stated there should be joint working between the UK and Scottish Governments on jobcentres.
Commenting, SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn, who is the Scottish Government’s Minister for Employability and Training, said: “The Tories austerity obsession continues with these harrowing cuts to Jobcentres across Scotland – and I’m heartened that the SNP is standing up for the interests of our communities who rely on these vital services.
“The ill-thought plans are completely unacceptable and are symptomatic of the Tories’ ideology of announcing devastating cuts without a care for the consequences.
“The proposals will hit our poorest and most deprived communities hardest, forcing those with the least money to spare to spend more travelling to receive the support they are entitled to.
“The Scottish Government has been clear that it intends to build a new social security system in Scotland built on dignity and respect, but the UK government is intent on following a different, more damaging path.”
Chris Stephens MP, who seconded the motion, said: “The proposals put forward by the Tory government are completely inappropriate – and utterly ill-conceived.
“Not only have most of the proposals not gone through any consultation process, the UK government has also failed to carry out any equality impact assessments of these closures, despite the clear impact that they will have on the most vulnerable in our communities.
“The proposals are also a clear breach of the Smith Commission, which called for joint working between both the UK and Scottish Government’s on the Jobcentre estate. It is clear that the Tories have absolutely no intention of honouring that.
“The SNP has spoken loudly here in Aberdeen today – the UK government must think again on these damaging cuts to our social security system.”
This article is closely based on an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).