Service struggles after Sidmouth Jobcentre closure

PUBLISHED: 11:30 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 11:44 17 June 2010

CUTBACKS to Jobcentres including Sidmouth have left the service struggling to cope in the face of rising unemployment, Government critics are warning. In East Devon there was a rise of 11 per cent in the number of unemployed claimants, going by 46 to 46

CUTBACKS to Jobcentres including Sidmouth have left the service struggling to cope in the face of rising unemployment, Government critics are warning.

In East Devon there was a rise of 11 per cent in the number of unemployed claimants, going by 46 to 461.

But at the start of the year it was announced Sidmouth Jobcentre along with Exmouth and Axminster were to close.

The figures also show a sharp rise in the number of dole claims waiting to be dealt with by the benefit-processing office in Exeter.

Government opponents say the backlog must not delay essential payments to people who find themselves out of work.

They have called for the Government to prevent further closures and cuts to Jobcentre staff in the face of the looming recession.

Lib Dem work and pensions spokesman Jenny Willott said: "As thousands more people are laid off, Jobseeker's Allowance could be all they have to live on. Jobcentre delays must not hold up this vital lifeline."

But a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "In these tough times we are committed to helping everyone who needs it to get back into work.

"Of customers making a claim for unemployment benefit, 75 per cent are seen within three days to get advice and support on finding work, and we're getting people their cash in an average of 10 days - ahead of our 11.5 day target.

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