To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of people who are currently registered to jobcentres in (a) Wavertree and (b) Edge Hill who do not have access to (i) the internet, (ii) a computer and (iii) a telephone; and whether his Department will issue guidance to claimants on places where they can go to access such amenities in the event that the proposed jobcentre closures go ahead.
No specific assessment has been made of the proportion of claimants registered at Wavertree and Edge Hill Jobcentres without access to the internet, a computer or a telephone. Increasingly, our customers access many of our services on-line. This includes claiming benefits, looking for jobs and keeping us informed of their efforts to find work.
The roll out of Universal Credit and our reforms of Jobcentre Plus have increased the number of interactions claimants now have with us online. For example, eight out of ten claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance are now made online and 99.6% of applicants for Universal Credit full service submitted their claim online, reflecting increased digital capability and accessibility. This allows the Department to tailor its service so that face-to-face contact can be focused on those who need extra support.
We are committed to retaining an accessible Jobcentre network and continuing to serve customers in all areas and the face to face support our work coaches offer at Jobcentres will continue to be a core part of the service we deliver. In order to be able to support customers in the most appropriate way, we have various means of interacting with them, including face to face, e-mail; telephone and by post. In offices over three miles and 20 minutes away by public transport, we are carrying out local consultation prior to implementing any changes to help inform decisions about additional provision, such as outreach services.