Your warmly welcomed headline “People power saves our town’s jobcentre” does not tell the whole story.
Less than a week after the outcome of the consultation that Clitheroe Jobcentre would continue to deliver services, it was decided the new benefit Universal Credit would be delivered only at Blackburn Jobcentre, while discussions are taking place about new Clitheroe premises. Universal Credit is due to replace most means-tested benefits and will be gradually introduced here from next month.
We are most concerned that local people in need of Jobcentre services have a local office with adequate resources, such as computers for essential internet access. We accept that the Lowergate office building may not be the best place. At the Citizens’ Advice Bureau we will continue to ask for local provision – anywhere – as long as it is in Clitheroe, as the main Ribble Valley centre, and as soon as possible.
It is very worrying that if you become unemployed (and have no children and no disability) from December 15th you will have to go to Blackburn to claim benefits as you will be in the new Universal Credit claimant group. The measure is supposed to be temporary, but speedy decisions are needed to ensure it does not become long term. This is significantly different from the news celebrated last week.
Manager of Ribble Valley
Citizens’ Advice Bureau