THE announcement that a Jobcentre will close before the end of year has sparked fury.

Farnworth Jobcentre, in King Street, had been expected to shut next year but the government has confirmed the closure is now slated for the autumn.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said it would merge with either the Blackhorse Street or Great Moor Street Jobcentres by the end of the year.

But Cllr Jean Gillies, who represents Farnworth, said she had been contacted by ‘droves’ of people in her ward who were ‘really upset’ by the news.

Cllr Gillies said: “My argument is these people have to go to Bolton and if a bus is late, or something like that, they get sanctioned. It’s more pressure on people who are out of work to find the money to go and sign on so they can get money.”

She continued: “The general consensus is they are going to struggle because of transport issues. When buses are cancelled and trains aren’t running what’s the guarantee they’re not going to get sanctioned ? It’s another added pressure and stress for those people already struggling , and it’s not right.”


Cllr Gillies also said she had been left in the dark over the plan by DWP bosses,a complaint echoed by Bolton South MP Yasmin Qureshi.

Ms Qureshi said: “I am totally opposed to the closure of Farnworth Jobcentre. There are disabled and unemployed constituents who simply cannot afford to travel to Bolton, so this closure is penalising them and making life even more difficult for them.

“When I first learned of the proposal to close the Jobcentre, I met senior officers from the DWP who said they would take my concerns into consideration.

“The next thing I heard was that the closure has been brought forward, but it was constituents who told me this, not the DWP. This is another example of how the Tory government is out of touch and simply doesn’t care about the people it affects.”

Damon Hinds, Minster for Employment, said: “We’re merging some offices and locating other jobcentres with local authorities to make sure that the welfare state and our employment support works for those who need it and those who pay for it.”