Llanelli’s MP and AM have urged the UK Minister behind the move to close Llanelli’s benefits office to re-think his plans.
Nia Griffith and Lee Waters met with Department of Work & Pensions Minister of State Damien Hinds in Whitehall on Monday to press the case for keeping jobs in Llanelli.
146 people currently work in the Department for Work and Pensions office in the middle of Llanelli dealing with sickness benefit claims, work capability assessments and crisis loans. These are not Job Centre roles but so-called ‘back of house’ functions. The DWP are consulting on closing the office and offering workers alternative employment in ‘nearby locations’ including Cardiff and Pembroke Dock.
“The DWP want to cut the number of offices they have but they are not thinking through the impact that their property plans will have on the economy of Llanelli. I told the Minister that not only is it unrealistic to expect people to travel to Cardiff, but it’s vital that we don’t centralise jobs in the Capital while areas like Llanelli are left to struggle”, Nia Griffith said.
Lee Waters AM said, “We told the Minister that there’s no need to move these jobs as both Carmarthenshire Council and the Welsh Government are willing to provide other premises in Llanelli. But he seemed dead set on closing the office. This will be a blow to the workers and the town. It will suck out even more trade and footfall from the town centre”.
The final decision will be made by the next Government after the election.