South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has expressed concern at plans by the Department for Work and Pensions in London to cut service provision in Upper Nithsdale.
The plans, veiled as “improving performance,” will result in cessation of services in Sanquhar and Kirkconnel and focussing them in Dumfries.
This comes at a time when the communities in Upper Nithsdale are struggling to cope with job losses following the collapse of Scottish Coal earlier this year.
Commenting, the SNP said:
“DWP are proposing to change the Jobcentre service in Sanquhar and Kirkconnel, stating that they have reached capacity due to the number of claimants. This entirely reflects the challenges the area faces.
“Following the recent job losses at the open cast coal mine there was an outcry as people were forced to go to Dumfries to sign on – a 30 mile round trip at their own expense.
“A 50 per cent reduction in transport costs after 3 months of unemployment is simply not good enough.”
“It is entirely counterintuitive to simply pull services out of communities where they are needed the most. All that is needed is a little innovation to improve the service rather than simply giving up and moving it to Dumfries.
“I have written to DWP to express my concerns and I sincerely hope they will think again.”