Petition to prevent the ‘devastating impact’ of closing Liverpool job centre

Relocating the job centre would add further costs to the local community, who would have to pay for public transport.

The campaign to save a Liverpool job centre threatened with closure is ramping up.

In March next year, almost 200 jobs will be moved as the Department of Work and Pensions relocates staff from Toxteth and St John’s Market job centres to a city centre location. Campaigners and union officials have vowed to put up “as big a fight as possible” to protect the Toxteth site and are now widening their campaign.

An online petition has been launched by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, who said they “vehemently” opposed the closure at Toxteth. They wrote: “Toxteth jobcentre is under threat as part of a mass office closure programme by the DWP which removes much needed services from your community.

People who use the jobcentre in High Park Street will have to travel further away with the services likely to move to Duke Street in the city centre. This is a site with no direct public transport access or parking facilities.

“No consideration has been given to the devastating impact this will have on your community and the local economy. People accessing services will be hit hard as they face a rapidly escalating cost-of-living crisis.”

The petition said PCS members had worked hard to build good relationships with all who use the job centre. It added: “It is often the first place people will turn to for help, especially as the local Citizens Advice Bureau and One Stop Shop have already closed.

“PCS is working with local MPs and community organisations to keep the office open, but we need your help.” During a public meeting held on the job centre in May, Martin Cavanagh, PCS Union DWP group president, said Toxteth was a community that “deserves support”.

He said: “Without the community, this isn’t going to happen. This is about the communities where services should be provided.

A spokesperson for the DWP said previously of the centre closures: “We are making use of a lease break to move Liverpool Toxteth Hyde Park House JCP staff and services to a better office just over a mile away to improve services for claimants and have a better working environment for staff – no jobs losses are expected as a result.”

The closure of the site was confirmed in writing to Kim Johnson, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, who called on the government “stop their navel gazing and finger pointing and get round the table.”