CLOSING half of Glasgow’s job centres could be against hundreds of claimants’ rights to equality, a city lawyer has claimed.

Angus McIntosh, a leading solicitor at the Castlemilk Law and Money Advice Centre, has said the proposals to close half of Glasgow’s job centres would make it extremely difficult for disabled people.

The further distances people would be required to travel, if the proposals to go through, would put disabled claimants at risk of being sanctioned.

“If these closures do happen it’s going to be extremely difficult for lots of people,” said McIntosh.

“The distance people would need to travel could put those with restricted mobility at a real risk of missing the likes of appointments to continue their employment and support allowance ( ESA), leading to sanctions or being moved to job seekers allowance (JSA).

“There are plenty of people who are going to be affected by this and we felt the matter needed investigated from a legal standpoint.”

Speaking at a public meeting in the Castlemilk Community Centre, the 55-year-old raised the issue that a lack of information had been provided to the public through the consultation document.

Having looked in to the issue after being invited to the meeting by Stewart McDonald MP the solicitor pointed out that there was no indication that a clause within the Equality Act 2010 was looked in to when the proposals were put forward.

McIntosh said: “There is little detail in the consultation document and one thing that is not mentioned is whether the government took what they are required to do by law within the Equality Act 2010.

“In particular, section 149 of the act, public sector equality duty, states that a public authority must have due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

“One of these protetced characteristics is disability and the government, under this act, must ensure they have taken removing or minimising disadvantages, are considered.

“The government may well have looked in to this, but it has not been made clear whether they have or not. It’s important that this proposal is contested collectively, politically and legally as there is a large amount of people who are going to be worse off because of this.”

The solicitor pointed out that he was making the general point and said, if legal action is to be taken, people would have to come forward and present their case as soon as possible.

He added: “Given the time frame given for judicial review you only get three months.

“With these proposals made public on December 7 it would be the safe option to assume the timeframe commenced from that point.

“So this would mean individuals who wish to help build a legal case would need to come forward as soon as the can before March 3.

“There are people out there who will be put in to very difficult positions. This proposal which is nothing more than a money saving exercise is just going to make things much, much worse.”