The Evening Times is today launching a campaign to prevent Jobcentre closures, which if allowed to go ahead will remove vital services in our most deprived communities.

In a city where one in 10 adults has never had a job and which is home to some of the most deprived communities in the country, the UK Government wants to shut the very places people go to for help.

Not just one or two service bases are under threat – the Department of Work and Pensions is proposing to close  seven of the city’s Jobcentres.

Glasgow is being singled out for unfair treatment. Across the UK the plan for rationalisation is to close 20% of Jobcentres to save cash.

But in Scotland’s largest city, with an unemployment rate of 7.7%, the plan is for 50% to close, taking the number from 14 down to seven.

The centres are a lifeline for those actively seeking work and having them within walking distance makes it  affordable to visit.

But the DWP wants to save cash and in doing so is willing to place a greater financial burden on Jobseekers who in some cases receive just £57.90 per week.

The proposals have been condemned by MPs and MSPs across parties.

Church leaders and trade union activists have criticised the proposal.

The landlord of one of the Jobcentres has even offered to renegotiate the rent if it helps the DWP meet cost savings targets and keeps the facility in the community.

Glasgow’s MPs lined up during a debate in the House of Commons to criticise the closures.

Stewart McDonald, Glasgow South SNP MP, which covers both Castlemilk and Langside secured the debate.

He said: “Taking away these vital government services from our communities in the name of rationalisation, with no regard to the effect upon the community and the individuals who access them, is another example of the callous disregard that Theresa May’s government has for Scotland.”

Glasgow East independent MP, Natalie McGarry, covers Parkhead which will close.  She said: “This disproportionately focuses on Glasgow.”

Patrick Grady, SNP MP,  covers Maryhill and he warned: “Maryhill jobseekers now face the prospect of travelling at least an extra half hour to reach the Springburn centre – meaning extra costs and an increased risk of sanctions if they are delayed.”

MSPs at Holyrood have stated their opposition with 35 from the SNP, Labour and the Greens backing a motion by Maryhill and Springburn MSP Bob Doris that it would have a “devastating impact on jobseekers.”

Leader of Glasgow City Council Frank McAveety described the move as “yet another ridiculous decision by a failing government whose work programme was statistically worse than doing nothing at all”.  He added: “Closing local job centres will have a real impact on my city and do absolutely nothing to get people back into work.”

Church leaders have also spoken out against the closures, concerned they will hit vulnerable people already struggling to get by.

Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, said: “Closing offices in some of the most deprived areas of the city, risks reducing access to support for those who need it most.”

Pauline Edmiston, vice convener of the Church of Scotland Church and Society Council, said: “Virtually every day we come across people who are looking for work but who are being badly treated by the Department for Work and Pensions.  “These proposals will only make things harder.”

The consultation document issued by the DWP makes it clear the object  of the exercise is to save money.

The first paragraph states the outcome is to “deliver improved services at reduced costs to the taxpayer”.

It later states: “We will save many millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money.”

And: “The financial savings secured from improving the efficiency of our estate is an integral part of the departments overall financial plan.”

Another mention of “achieve significant savings and the short paper concludes with reference to “the closure offers value for money for the taxpayer”.

The consultation closes on January 31. Responses can be sent to Etta Wright, District Manager’s Office, Public Consultation, 1st floor Laurieston Jobcentre 159-181 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G41 1PW.