Council proposes alternative to closure of two job centres

Completing an employment application form

Liverpool City Council has come up with proposals which it believes could prevent the closure of two job centres in Liverpool.

The Government recently announced it wants to close four centres in Liverpool – Norris Green, Wavertree, Edge Hill and Aintree, meaning in some cases a two bus ride, a half mile walk and a journey time of an hour or more in each direction.

Mayor Joe Anderson and Cabinet member for employment and skills, Cllr Lana Orr, have now written to the Government requesting that they consider co-locating Norris Green and Wavertree job centres in to the local One Stop Shops.

Both options are located very close to existing Job Centres and would save money as well as enabling people to have access to One Stop Shop services.

They write: “The provision of an accessible Job Centre is key to ensuring that many of our residents access the job support they need in order to gain employment. Without that support, many of those people will fall further away from the labour market and are at greater risk of sanction. We do not believe that this is acceptable and would urge you to work with us to avoid such an outcome.”

Councillor Lana Orr, Cabinet member for employment and skills, added: “We have come up with alternative proposals which would avoid greater hardship for our poorest residents who use Norris Green and Wavertree.

“This would deliver savings, link people up with other support services and ensure their employment and training opportunities aren’t damaged.

“The current proposals mean that people who currently walk to a job centre will have to take two buses which is money they can ill afford when they are already struggling to make ends meet, and is just another obstacle hindering people’s chances of getting into work.

“We are thinking creatively and innovatively about this, as we have done with the move of the Williamson Square job centre into St Johns Market.”

The council is also requesting that any planned changes to the service are suspended until such time as the possibility of co-location has been fully explored.

Alternative options for Aintree and Edge Hill job centres are also being looked at by the council.