DWP offices in Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds could face closure
- Credit: Archant
Proposals to close Department for Work and Pensions offices across the east of England – including Lowestoft – have been condemned by union chiefs.
The DWP says the closure of the offices, described as 'backroom' functions associated with welfare benefit claims processing, is set to happen between 2018 and 2023 because of increasing benefit claims made online.
Nationally, around 750 jobs will go as part of the restructuring.
With proposals published today, the DWP also confirmed that some smaller job centres will merge with larger ones, and others will be co-located with local government premises.
However the main central Government trade union, PCS (Public & Commercial Services Union), condemned the refusal to withdraw the plans, particularly in the wake of the surge in opposition to austerity cuts to public spending.
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Richard Edwards, PCS regional secretary for the East, said: 'Hundreds of our members across the east of England working in Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Southend and Watford face an uncertain future.
'Many could be facing compulsory redundancy unless these plans are withdrawn.
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'These staff work on so-called for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
'PCS utterly condemns the DWP for proceeding with these office closures. It is clear that the DWP and Ministers intend to drive through these plans, putting our members' jobs at risk and the delivery of vital services to a vulnerable group of people dependant on the smooth delivery of their very livelihood.
'We will be consulting our members and their representatives about the sort of campaign they want to see in their area and working with anybody also opposed to these plans.'