Jobcentre Closures

Part of Committees – in the House of Commons at 9:24 pm on 5th February 2018.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 9:24 pm, 5th February 2018

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. Even as an Albion Rovers fan, he is very quick off the mark, because he has worked out my very next point, which is on transport. He shares a constituency boundary with me. One part of that boundary is around Gartloch and Gartcosh. I do not know whether the Minister would be able to point to where Gartloch is on a map, but the reality is that, if someone has to walk from Gartloch to Shettleston on a cold January or February day, it is going to take them a rather long time.

The third issue that I want to touch on is the gangland culture and territorialism that exists in Glasgow. I am glad to say that, since the time I was growing up—nothing to do with me, I must add—a lot of that has been tackled, and we do not have quite the same problems that we did. I give the Minister the example the community of Wellhouse, which is separated from Easthall by a road. They are two communities in the Greater Easterhouse Partnership area. They are very, very small communities but they have their own community centre and housing association. That is because at one point young guys could not walk across that road without the fear of getting involved in all sorts of incidents.

If the Minister will not listen to me on the concerns about territorialism and the gangland culture, then he should listen to Commander Stevie Haslett, who heads up Glasgow East police. I was quite surprised to find out that the Department had not bothered to consult him about this either. The Minister will be aware, of course, because I am sure that he has done his homework, that Shettleston jobcentre was piloted as being one of the under-25 jobcentres that everybody in the whole of the east end of Glasgow would come to. This was a number of years ago. There was all sorts of trouble because people from different communities were coming together and clashing. That put the security staff and the jobcentre staff at immense risk as well.

My final point is about the jobcentre that the Government want to merge absolutely everything into—Shettleston, which would be some sort of UK super-jobcentre following the merger of Bridgeton, Easterhouse and Parkhead. I was quite surprised when I found out only a couple of weeks ago about the number of car parking spaces at Shettleston jobcentre. This is particularly about the issue of all the new staff who will be transitioned to that jobcentre. I say to the Minister that, if I find out in the next couple of weeks that Shettleston Road has been turned into a car park, I am going to be very unhappy.

The Evening Times, a local newspaper in Glasgow, has been resolutely united in campaigning to save our jobcentres. If the Minister will not listen to me as an SNP politician, and if he will not even listen to the Tory councillors in Glasgow, he should listen to the newspaper that is for Glasgow.