Ruffley slams proposed closure of Stowmarket Job Centre

Wednesday, 20 August, 2008

David Ruffley MP has reacted angrily to the proposed closure of the Stowmarket Jobcentre Plus office following the gloomy economic forecast last week by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King. The Governor does not expect the UK economy to grow at all over the next year and he does not rule out a recession.

In addition, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said unemployment nationally increased by 60,000 to 1.67 million between April and June. The number of people claiming jobless benefits in July rose by 20,100 to 864,700.

The Department for Work and Pensions is carrying out a review of the nationwide network of Jobcentres and has proposed closing the Jobcentre Plus office in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket.

The text of David's letter to Tina Ellis, Jobcentre Plus District Manager is below.

David said: 'Closing Stowmarket Jobcentre makes no sense at all when the demand for their services is likely to rise. Although employment in the East of England has not so far been hit by the economic downturn, the national trend shows that we cannot be complacent. To deprive Stowmarket residents of their local Jobcentre just when they may need it most is short sighted in the extreme.

'Telling job seekers that they must travel to Bury St Edmunds or Ipswich to access the full range of Jobcentre Plus services demonstrates how out of touch the Government is with rural areas. If you haven't got a job you can't afford to travel to and fro- you need services to be provided locally.

'Neither can it be assumed that everyone can access Jobcentre services online. The recent Post Office consultation showed very clearly that many people in Stowmarket do not have internet access.

'I call on the management of Jobcentre Plus to think again. It is crazy to close Stowmarket Jobcentre Plus just when it may be needed most.'