Reprieve for job centre

Thursday, 27 November, 2008

STOWMARKET'S job centre which was under threat of closure has received a stay of execution as a Government Minister says it is needed to help cope with the economic downturn.

The service was at risk of being shut, with residents having to travel to Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, or use the internet.

Now the Department for Work and Pensions says that closure will be suspended, with the minister Tony McNulty saying that the recent downturn in the global economy has sparked a change of heart over the proposal to close job centres.

Mr McNulty said its closure will be suspended during the current economic uncertainty at what is a difficult time with people seeking work.

MP David Ruffley, who represents the town as part of his Bury St Edmunds Constituency, said: 'My campaign over the summer and autumn has succeeded.

'I lobbied the Minister Tony McNulty to save the Stowmarket Job Centre. It was always a crazy idea to tell my constituents in Stowmarket who needed help to find a job to do a long round trip to Bury St Edmunds or Ipswich.'

Anne Whybrow, Stowmarket mayor and a county councillor, believes the closure of the job centre would have meant the loss of an invaluable service to the community.

The news comes after earlier this year it was revealed that the future of three job centres in Suffolk were under threat after proposals were unveiled to close the offices at not just Stowmarket, but Woodbridge and Mildenhall as well. All will now be spared the axe.

The Department for Work and Pensions had launched the closure review to ensure that it was making the best use of its resources, launching a consultation with residents, trade unions, MPs and staff to discuss the potential impact if the office was to close.