Liverpool’s main job centre is to be relocated inside one of Britain’s oldest indoor markets.
In an innovative partnership between the Department of Work and Pensions and Liverpool City Council, the current centre in Williamson Square is to close with a new Job Centre Plus opening within St Johns Market.
The new Job Centre plus will be based on the upper floor of the historic market and will be based alongside the council’s new One Stop Shop, which is relocating from Municipal Buildings this Autumn and will also feature a new Housing Options service.
The colocation deal between the Government and local authority is the first in Merseyside and will provide a holistic approach to employment, tax, housing benefit and payment advice and services to the public – all under one roof.
The move will also increase footfall to the city centre market, which was reopened by Sir Ken Dodd last November after a £2.5m refurbishment.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, who is personally overseeing the ongoing development of the market, says the dual move is a win-win-win – with savings to the public purse, an improved service for thousands of people in need of support and a key element of a new strategy to grow the market’s appeal.
St Johns Market is currently 66% let, although its food court and the hair and beauty sections are now 100% occupied, and has recently welcomed four new traders in the past three weeks.
Mayor Anderson added: “Liverpool City Council is constantly looking at way we can improve our services and this co-location of our One Stop Shop and Job Centre Plus within St Johns Market is a fantastic example of delivering great value for money that benefits both job seekers, council tax payers and the market traders.
“This is a hugely innovative approach with the Department of Work and Pensions and I’m delighted Liverpool is at the forefront delivering new ways of working to the benefit of the public.
“St Johns Market is an ideal city centre location with its proximity to Queen Square bus station and Lime Street and Central train stations.
“This move is also part of much wider strategy to ensure St Johns market is at the beating heart of the retail offer in Liverpool and we have more announcements in the coming weeks which will demonstrate how we are going to attract more new businesses and even more customers.”
The move forms part of the DWPs wholesale review to the Job Centre service across the country which will save over £140 million a year for the next ten years.
Damian Hinds, Minster for Employment said: “We will always make sure that people have the support they need to get into and progress within work.
“We’re merging some offices and locating other jobcentres with local authorities to make sure that the welfare state and our employment support works for those who need it and those who pay for it.”
Liverpool City Council is actively seeking new traders for St Johns Market, especially:
Food commodities including cheese and dairy produce.
Toys and fancy dress
Application forms are available at the Information Desk at St Johns or call 0151 707 2663.