We must fight to save our jobcentre

Job Centre Plus offices. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Job Centre Plus offices. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
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I wish to let people know that Clitheroe Job Centre is closing.

Customers of the job centre will have to sign on to claim their benefits at the Blackburn office, but will have to pay for their own transport.

It is £4.20 from Clitheroe to Blackburn on the train. More expensive on the bus.

Customers will not be reimbursed for this cost. That’s a lot of money from £72 a week. Try running a household on an even reduced amount.

This will encourage even more people to work cash in hand, shoplift and go to food banks. The Government is not helping. We are getting into debt and causing depression (make us ill and then we will be on benefits even longer). If this was the Government’s plan, then it is working.

What about the people in the villages with lack of transport? Cost? Time consuming? Commitments – childcare, elderly, mobility?

As you have to sign on at a given time, you could be late for an appointment and then given a sanction (lose benefit for not complying to the rules). You could have child care issues, children being dropped off/picked up from school or babies being taken out in bad weather (buses and trains are not easy with a pram) or if you have mobility problems.

You can’t change your day without losing benefits. Buses/trains run late or don’t turn up – cost of travel and time taken.

You will only be able to contact/speak to a person if you ring the 0345 number, listen for ages to the recorded message and this will cost you money. Another cost to being on benefits you just can’t afford.

Staff at the job centre also have commitments to their family and responsibilities. They will have to make changes as well, loss of earnings as they may have to cut their hours due to family commitments. Travel costs to and from work added to the cost of living. The department will lose valuable, experienced staff.

I urge people to contact their local MP. This will happen to all our services. It happened to the tax office at Accrington (that was specially built for them, now empty, costing us, the tax payer, even more money). That moved to Derby.

Now it takes over five weeks to get information you have to have to complete any forms on the internet (they have a strict do it in order. God help you if there is any bank holidays).

Contact your MP, write to the paper, go to the job centre and fill in the petition.

We must stop Clitheroe becoming part of Blackburn. We will lose out. Once it has gone, it has gone. People can’t come to Clitheroe to sign on/get advice from a real-life person. You will lose trade to the town, local businesses will suffer as we have to go to Blackburn and just bypass Clitheroe.

Keep Clitheroe alive, keep our community alive. We need the people to come to Clitheroe. We need to keep people coming to Clitheroe to spend and keep us in jobs. We don’t want to be a ghost town, because once it has gone it has gone.

Maria Holey,

West View, Clitheroe