MP Hugo Swire backs growing call for Exmouth’s own job centre

10:57 26 February 2014

The long path to Exeter job centre. Some Exmouth job seekers are so broke that they are walking the 23-mile round trip to sign on.

The long path to Exeter job centre. Some Exmouth job seekers are so broke that they are walking the 23-mile round trip to sign on.

Archant

CALLS for a “satellite” job centre for Exmouth – where the town’s unemployed could sign on instead of having to trek 23 miles into Exeter and back – are growing considerably louder.

MP Hugo Swire has backed the suggestion, saying it’s a “good idea”.

The East Devon MP and a minister of state for the Foreign Office says he intends to ask the Department of Work and Pensions area manager to look into the matter.

Meanwhile John Humphreys, Exmouth’s Mayor, is also backing a once-a-week signing-on facility within the town, saying, “We need this satellite office”.

And last week Exmouth Town Council approved a motion proposing that the DWP undertakes an urgent review of the situation and to look at fully reinstating the town’s job centre.

The news follows last week’s Journal investigation which revealed that six years on from the closure of Exmouth’s job centre on Rolle Street, some of the town’s unemployed are so poor that they cannot afford the train or bus fare once a fortnight into Exeter to sign on.

With no reimbursement for their fares (£7.20 bus, £4.10 off-peak train), some jobseekers are even walking the 23-mile round trip to sign on, avoiding “sanctions” (having their benefits cut).

The proposed Exmouth satellite signing-on office could be modelled on a similar scheme operating twice-a-week in Okehampton.

“I understand why the DWP has tried to concentrate everything in Exeter,” said Hugo Swire, “but clearly if it works in Okehampton – although that town is much further away than Exmouth is from Exeter – then I think that’s a good idea.

“So I would be supportive, if they can do it, of bringing it once a week – or even once a fortnight – and having a presence on a regular basis in the town.”

The proposal for the satellite office has been welcomed by Exmouth’s Open Door Centre – an umbrella support organisation working with local churches - and the once-a-week Glenorchy Work Club.

“I’m pretty supportive of anything that the Open Door Centre or the Glenorchy Work Club try and do,” said Mr Swire. “It’s my natural default position, so I think this is a good idea.”

John Humphreys, Exmouth’s mayor, was in agreement.

“As one of the largest towns within Devon, it isn’t right for our people to have to travel in to Exeter to sign on when there are satellite offices in other towns.

“Exmouth’s job centre closed in 2008 under the Labour cutbacks. The jobless figures are going down under the coalition government and it has gone down within Exmouth, but we still need this satellite office.”

The matter was brought up at the full Town Council meeting on Monday, February 17, when

Steve Gazzard, the Lib Dem councillor for Exmouth Town Ward, proposed a motion, asking for the DWP to undertake a review of its decision to close Exmouth’s job centre.

“It’s causing a problem and hardship to a lot of people,” said Cllr Gazzard. “A lot of people are losing out, are having their benefits stopped for missing appointments, and have to reapply. That doesn’t happen overnight.

“I think we have over 400 unemployed or seeking work in Exmouth. We are the biggest town in Devon. We deserve a job centre plus. Honiton has one. I understand Okehampton has a drop-in centre. The DWP is duty-bound to reconsider the decision it made over four years ago. It is doing a great disservice to our younger and elderly people who are still looking for work. To expect people to go to Exeter is causing unnecessary hardship for these individuals.”

Cllr Gazzard’s motion was carried unanimously by the town council.

1 comment

  • Why are they not signing on by post? If you let them set you up they will, stand up for yourselves ffs

    Report this comment

    Banana Ted

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

Other News Stories

09:26
car driving fast into forest.

Fast-driving troublemakers in Exmouth can now be reported to the police more easily, as the authorities aim to crack down on the town’s ‘boy racers’.

Read more
Staff at the Exmouth branch of Nat West bank have been busy raising funds for nine month old Leo Burton. Ref exe 1748-25-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

The parents of a baby battling a rare form of cancer have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support of the community.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:12
Brian Edwards

An Exmouth man has vowed to raise £42,000 for a Nepalese community which saved his life.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30

People in Exmouth are being urged to help their elderly neighbours register their electrical appliances.

Read more
Tue, 18:30
Wood(bury) Stock 2015. Doctors Orders. Photo: Neil Ewins.

A successful blues, roots and folk music festival took place recently at Woodbury’s Malsters Arms.

Read more
Tue, 16:00

A fire crew from Exmouth was called out on Tuesday to put out a car on fire in Exeter Road.

Read more
Tue, 12:30

Plans for a major care home and housing development in Budleigh Salterton have been opposed again by town planners.

Read more
Tue, 06:30
The new graffiti wall in Phear Park has started to be decorated . Ref exe 0456-25-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A new graffiti wall in Phear Park has come under fire from residents since it was erected earlier this month.

Read more
Mon, 16:19

Police have issued the all-clear after suspicious packages found in Exeter city centre have been safely dealt with.

Read more
Mon, 15:27

Parts of Exeter city centre remain out of bounds after suspicious packages were found this morning (Monday).

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder