The Scottish Government led a debate on Wednesday in the Scottish Parliament regarding the recently announced closures of job centres across Scotland – with Local MSP Stuart McMillan condemning the callous Tory government for “selling out Scotland yet again.”
The proposed closures, including Port Glasgow Job Centre, which are going ahead without prior consultation are part of an ideologically-motivated campaign by the Tories, are set to have a deeply damaging impact on the most vulnerable people across Scotland – raising travel costs and making services less accessible.
The cuts, which will close more than 20 job centre sites across Scotland, have been condemned by the Scottish Government, the TUC, the Church of Scotland and charities including One Parent Families Scotland.
Speaking in the debate, Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan called on the UK Government and DWP to halt the closures – and challenged opposition West Scotland Tory MSPs to back these calls.
Commenting, Mr McMillan said:
“These reckless UK government cuts show just how little they care about protecting our communities and providing people with the support they need.
“Despite progress in the last few years, the eradication of the manufacturing base in Inverclyde – driven by the socio-economic policies of the Tory Thatcher Government in the 1980s has led to my constituency struggling for decades.
“Inverclyde has a higher proportion of people who are economically inactive due to a long term health condition or disability than most other local authorities in Scotland. That means that there will also be a higher proportion of JSA and ESA claimants in Inverclyde with a limiting disability who are required to attend jobcentre interviews.
“For as long as the sanctions regime continues to punish people for even slight lateness, then the closure of job centres, including in Port Glasgow, will ultimately lead to more people being unduly penalised.
“Putting additional barriers in the way to getting into employment is a ridiculous position to be in and the Tories in this Chamber, and particularly those who represent the West of Scotland, should be ashamed of their party colleagues in Westminster.
“Frankly, this is yet another Tory betrayal of Scotland.”