DWP office closures: where is Department for Work and Pensions shutting offices - and how many jobs could go?

The government is set to close 42 DWP offices across the UK

<p>Department for Work and Pensions offices across the UK are set to close with job losses expected. (Credit: Adobe) </p>

Department for Work and Pensions offices across the UK are set to close with job losses expected. (Credit: Adobe)

At a time when the cost of living is rising, there is more bad new for workers as it was announced by the UK Government that several offices for Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are to close.

Jobs are at risk as plans to close the offices were unveiled, with disputed claims over how many people could be affected by the closures.

But how many people are at risk in their job, how many offices are being closed and what has been said?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Why are some DWP offices set to close?

Speaking to the House of Commons about the planned closure, David Rutley, work and pensions minister, explained that the closures are part of a plan to scale back on “estate”.

He said: “DWP has got too much estate. Recent calculations estimate that there’s a capacity for 158,000 people, however the maximum headcount is forecast to be around 97,500 people.

“What we need to do is to make sure that we use that estate as effectively as possible for our colleagues but also for the taxpayer, and what we want to do is refocus the colleagues working in clusters so they can most effectively support customers and claimants, but also at the same time help improve and develop their own careers.”

How many DWP offices are to close ?

Currently, the plan states that 42 offices could close across the UK.

13 of these are expected to be full closures, with another 29 being closed and relocated.

Mr Rutley told the House of Commons that meetings with workers affected were underway as of Thursday 17 March.

He also added that employees who were set to lose their job as a result of the closure would be aided by the government, which would “see what opportunities there are within DWP”.

Mr Rutley also added that the closures will not affect Job Centres or “customer-facing interactions”.

Where are the closure set to take place?

Labour criticised the decision after it appeared that northern cities were to be affected by the closures.

Shadow business minister Justin Madders said: “It looks as if the Department for Work and Pensions doesn’t believe in levelling up, it doesn’t believe in its own rhetoric on jobs, and it doesn’t believe in keeping people in work.”

“We hear that offices are going to be closed in Stoke, in Southend, in Peterborough, in Chesterfield and Aberdeen, in Kirkcaldy, in Barrow, Bishop Auckland, Doncaster and Burnley, taking jobs out of these communities.”

How many jobs are at risk?

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said that they believed that at least 1,100 civil servant jobs could be at risk.

General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The Government was quick to clap civil servants at the start of the pandemic – they’re even quicker to scrap them now they’ve declared the pandemic over.

“These are the workers rightly praised in 2020 by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey as ‘exceptional’ and in November last year by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as ‘miracle workers’.

“But now, as food and fuel prices rise faster than ever, they’re being abandoned by the Government and left to fend for themselves.”

Mr Rutley claimed that the union had broken an embargo by speaking about the closure plans, adding; “This seems to be a very unusual situation. It is very disappointing that the embargo with the PCS ... does not seem to have been respected.

“Clearly our staff should be the top priority at this time and I hope that colleagues will understand that I am not able to go into all the details this morning as we are currently briefing affected colleagues as we speak.”

However, Labour has claimed that there could be a much higher job cull as a result of the closure of 42 offices.

Mr Madders said: “We’ve heard up to 12,000 jobs might be affected, but how many of those workers will be able to find new jobs locally within the department?”

However, Mr Rutley replied: “There are going to be around 12,000 colleagues who will be moving from one site to another in close proximity – around 28 sites involved there.

“In terms of colleagues that will be affected where there is no other strategic site nearby, there are around 1,300 colleagues that could be involved.”

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