Two Jobcentres in Telford will close within a month
Two Jobcentres in Telford will close over the next month under Government plans to deal with “under-used” buildings.
The branch in New Street, Wellington, will close on January 26, meaning customers will have to head into Telford town centre to use the service.
It will be followed by the branch in Church Street, Madeley, closing on February 5.
The plan to close the branches was announced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last January.
They were mentioned among the proposals to merge, co-locate or close dozens of other branches.
Branches in Shrewsbury, Market Drayton, Bridgnorth, Oswestry and Whitchurch were among the offices chosen to be retained.
Jobcentres were introduced to mediate between recruiters and the unemployed.
In 2002, all branches were rebranded to Jobcentre Plus walk-ins, catering for people on benefits including those on disabilities and more recently, the problematic Universal Credit.
However, according to employment minister Damian Hinds, eight in 10 claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance and 99 per cent of applications for the “full service” version of Universal Credit are now made online, meaning that DWP buildings are being used much less.
Last year, the DWP shake-up saw 40 branches close and merge between August and December, to the loss of hundreds of jobs.
This year, a further 500 roles could be left at risk – although it said the "majority of staff will remain in their current offices with others moving to another DWP site nearby".
Some staff will be placed on its voluntary redundancy scheme.
Last year, DWP said Jobcentres and benefit centres were covered by old building contracts which were coming up for renewal.
The department said 20 per cent of office space was under-used.
Speaking last January, Mr Hinds said: "The way the world works has changed rapidly in the last 20 years and the welfare state needs to keep pace.
“As more people access their benefits through the internet, many of our buildings are under-used. We are concentrating our resources on what we know best helps people into work.
“The changes we’ve announced will help ensure that the way we deliver our services reflect the reality of today’s welfare system.”
The plans have previously been attacked by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the Public and Commercial Services union.