The Future of Chiswick’s Job Centre
Closure means lengthy journey for job seekers
Chiswick Area Monitoring Committee this month will hear a report on the impact that the closure of the Job Centre would have on Chiswick’s community.
London Borough of Hounslow’s Head of Economic Development informed the committee that under a new Government scheme, employment and benefits services would be merged into a single operation called “Jobcentre Plus”.
Details of the new scheme, piloted in 2002, were sent to representatives from Hammersmith, Ealing and Hounslow Job Centres by the Manager of West London District for their views and input on local implementation.
In April of this year, it was announced that both Chiswick and Hounslow Job Centres would close, however, CAC claim that no letter stating this fact or requesting views and input was ever received. Upon hearing the news from alternative sources, the Chair of CAC wrote a strongly worded letter in protest of the closure.
The rationale behind closing the two Job Centres is different. In the case of Hounslow, the existing benefits office, in close proximity to the Job Centre, is being refurbished and will service the same catchment area without creating significant inconvenience to local residents. However, this is not the case in Chiswick or Brentford where residents will have to travel to Hounslow, Acton or Hammersmith.
The committee expressed concerns that of the 600 people affected by this closure, those who will suffer the most are the disabled Chiswick residents who no longer have a local centre on the High Road and for whom travel to other centres could prove difficult. Outreach, work focused interviews in accessible premises for those on Incapacity Benefit who wish to return to work are currently under discussion.
made to justify closure is that all Job Centre vacancies are now held
on a national database and can be accessed from the internet from home
or public libraries. This ignores the fact that Chiswick is the one library
in the borough that doesn't have free interent access.