Saturday, June 19, 2010

Deptford Jobcentre news

I did a quick post on this back in March but  missed the Deptford Dame's post on Thursday, 17 June, but it appears that after having been assured of Deptford Jobcentre's survival by a Labour minister this has been overturned by the new government.

Joan Ruddock has raised this volte-farce a couple of times.  On 10 July:

Joan Ruddock MP today expressed her anger at the planned closure of JobCentre Plus on Deptford High Street and accused the Coalition Government of hypocrisy.

She said ‘The government says it wants to get people off benefits but it is taking away the best opportunity people have of getting back into work. The Labour minister had assured us Deptford would retain its Jobcentre.’

‘I am meeting urgently with management and unions to see what can be done.’

‘There is no doubt the negotiations between the department’s property agents and the developer took far too long but a workable solution had been reached. Cutting services to the most needy is exactly what I expected from a Tory led government.’ 

And again on Monday 14 June:
At DWP questions on Monday the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions agreed to meet Joan Ruddock about Deptford Jobcentre Plus.

The exchange from Hansard is below:

Joan Ruddock (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab): Last week, the new Government announced that the jobcentre in Deptford, serving 2,500 of my constituents, is to be closed. Will the right hon. Gentleman meet me urgently to discuss how he plans to help the unemployed in my area, or is this to be the first example of how the coalition seeks to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from its savage cuts?

Mr Duncan Smith: I am very happy to meet the right hon. Lady at a moment of her convenience. I understand that the centre had reached the end of its lease, and we are trying to find a way of ensuring that there is support in the area. I am happy to meet her and deal with those specifics.

It's hard to get nostalgic about anything to do with the DWP, but at least it was convenient for Deptford locals.   I wouldn't hold my breath on a positive outcome from Joan Ruddock's meeting with Duncan Smith. 


  1. That would be IDS, who was chair of CSJ (Centre for Social Justice) when he came to Deptford in May last year to visit a youth organisation working with the police "to tackle our most deep rooted social problems"...

  2. No doubt the Job Centre will look unsightly when the new station is built...are these two things so unconnected as they appear to be? The plans for this tiny corner of Deptford probably don't include Del Trotter and his dog...

    Meanwhile, it could be a good thing if dole claimants get into the habit of travelling to their source of payment – but that only makes sense if claimants in Catford and Downham and Sydenham are made to come to Deptford to sign on...

    The idea of making people work a bit harder for their benefits is very Tory. What's needed is more local jobs. But it looks like the only local jobs on offer will be cleaning and security of luxury flats...

    Alternatively, Deptford claimants may be asked to sign on less often? Perhaps you'll be able to go to the brand new 'learning zone'and do it online using a special access code...?

    Going back to the beginning again, where is the local authority in all this? Is it all down to Housing & Council Tax Benefits that claiming is to be centralised in Catford? Is the DWP system so crap it can't cope with North Lewisham folk signing on in much nearer locations in Greenwich or Southwark?
    Has anyone noticed whether other Job Centres in the borough are closing by the way?

    Apparently this is about a lease. But there is a perfectly good local authority owned building being let out to artists almost opposite. That beautiful building has been abandoned (though cherished by the artists who have it on a short lease)...Why isn't the council offering that to the DWP?

    Wouldn't the Deptford Arms have been big enough? It's certainly huge now Paddy Power have stripped out the bar. And 2 floors above for rabid number crunching and Back To Work seminars...If we'd known the Job Centre was still going to go, we might have had a fight there.

    Actually, isn't the present Job Centre stupidly large compared to the paltry number of job offers, but if they want something that big, mightn't Peacocks be open to offers...(though they must be holding on to that for its estate value)...

    What the fuck is going on? Always more than meets the eye and definitely more than we are being told. For instance, whilst Joan is tub-thumping, what is Steve Bullock doing?

    Neither of them have power any more when it comes to central government...but aren't we seeing plans in action that were always to be, drawn up by a Labour government and approved by a Labour Council...and the Olympics lobby and Design For London, who have entertained plans for our area that would see us obliterated.

    Bejing! Ker-ching! Get rid of those street folk, they make us look bad....