Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP, Gerald Jones has successfully secured a House of Commons debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday 9th May. The debate will require a response from a Minister from the Department for Work and Pensions and Gerald will use the opportunity to raise concerns about the detrimental impact the closure of DWP offices in Merthyr Tydfil will have on the town centre, the local economy and on members of staff who are planned to be merged into a single “hub” in Treforest.
Gerald Jones MP said: “The DWP Offices in Merthyr Tydfil provides local employment for around 250 people. These jobs are essential to protect and sustain the local economy and I have been working with PCS Trade Union and my Assembly colleague, Dawn Bowden to urge the DWP to keep these jobs in the town.
“Moving these jobs out of the town centre makes no sense. The Welsh Government are continuing to build Merthyr Tydfil as an economic hub in the valleys but the Department of Work and Pensions moving jobs out of the town would weaken that cause.
“This debate is an important break-through for the campaign. The traffic delays on the A470 are very well known, and it is simply inconceivable to think that this relocation will improve matters.
“There are numerous concerns that need urgently addressing by the DWP, and I hope the Minister will listen to the objections and reconsider the proposals pragmatically, keeping these important jobs in Merthyr Tydfil.
“I will be using this debate to again urge the DWP to support local communities by keeping jobs local. It makes no sense to relocate around 1700 staff to a massive, impersonal building. DWP have previously said that this will save money and create greater efficiency, however, I don’t believe this is proven and I am very concerned about the impact on town centres such as Merthyr Tydfil.”
Earlier this year, Labour representatives Gerald Jones MP and Dawn Bowden AM joined members of the PCS union to visit the proposed site of the new DWP Hub to experience the difficulties in getting to the site by public transport. The journey proved that staff would have significantly longer bus and train journeys, with their main concerns being around the inaccessibility of the train station, being 15 minutes’ from the site and along a steep and slippery path, making it a real cause for concern in winter months.