Preston Friargate job centre stays in DWP staff shake-up

The entrance to a Jobcentre Plus
The entrance to a Jobcentre Plus

Preston’s Job Centre Plus in Friargate is to stay open after all despite a massive review of Department of Work and Pensions buildings and other staff in the city being transferred from one office to another.

The Government has outlined proposals to merge 78 smaller Jobcentre Plus offices in urban areas with larger ones nearby, and co-locate around 50 Jobcentre Plus offices using local authorities or other community services .

Around 750 jobs are said to be at risk nationally.

In Preston, the landmark Friargate building is to carry on as normal.

But staff in other buildings will have to transfer to other DWP offices.

A DWP spokesman said JobCentre Plus staff from Barry House would move to Palatine House. Staff at Duchy House and Marshall House are staying.

In Chorley there is no change, but in Leyland the Job Centre Plus will relocate.

No firm details have yet been given.

Labour has meanwhile warned that plans to close dozens of jobcentres will hit the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

Shadow work and pensions minister Margaret Greenwood said the proposals make no sense, as the Government prepares to expand its flagship Universal Credit benefit.

Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke rejected the claims, saying most benefits are now claimed online and the move makes sense financially.

Asking an urgent question on the issue in the Commons, Ms Greenwood said: “The impact of the closures will undoubtedly be felt by the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

“By closing such a large proportion of the DWP estate, the Government will be forcing claimants to travel further to access the vital services that they need, so impacting on the lives of sick, disabled people, carers and parents with young children.”