The proposed closure of the Dagenham Jobcentre was confirmed recently by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). The closure, which was announced in January, advised the Dagenham and Barking jobcentre offices to merge to provide, as they comment, "a more efficient service." This merger will bring the Barking offices from 44 percent capacity to over 90 percent, along with some employees moving from East Ham.
Jon raised his concerns with this merger back in January, and he will continue to fight this until the end. Enough is enough. Unemployment is too high in Dagenham and the additional cost of travel to Barking will severely affect many constituents. Too many people in Dagenham are already in struggling and this merger is not going to alleviate any of the problem.
Jon commented: "Even given the callous record of this austerity-driven Tory Government, I am shocked to the core that they plan to close the Chequers Lane job centre. We have one of the highest unemployment rates in London, and it is a statement of the bleeding obvious that you must have a job centre in Dagenham.
"The latest figures show 1,690 men and women in Dagenham and Rainham are currently on benefits and seeking work. Many more - part-time and zero-hour workers or seniors looking to boost their paltry pensions - need proper access to a job centre.
"On one hand this Government want the jobless to look for vacancies every day; yet, on the other, they want people to travel over four miles further afield to Wakering Road in Barking. How on earth do they expect men and women, already struggling to make ends meet, to pick up the extra travel costs?
"This is an appalling tax on the unemployed, proving that the On Yer Bike Tories are running the country again. I will be taking this matter up as a matter of urgency with ministers."