Dole Claim Backlog in Wales Doubles in a Year - Willott

November 20, 2008 12:00 AM

The number of unprocessed Jobseeker's Allowance claims in Wales has more than doubled since the start of the year to a total of nearly 3,000, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

New figures show that JobCentre Plus is struggling to cope with increasing unemployment while the Government continues to close Jobcentres.

The figures, revealed in a series of Parliamentary answers show that:

• The number of unprocessed Jobseeker's Allowance claims in Wales has increased by 120% since 2007.

• Since 2002 more than 500 Jobcentre Plus offices have closed, including 47 in Wales.

• Over 17,000 full time Jobcentre Plus jobs have been cut over the last four years.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and Cardiff Central MP, Jenny Willott said:

"These are the first warning signs that the JobCentre Plus network is buckling under the weight of increasing unemployment.

"Ministers have left JobCentres short-staffed and ill-prepared for a recession.

"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.

"If the Jobcentre Plus network is struggling to cope now, how will cope if over 500 people lose their job in Wales every week for the next two years?

"The Government must stop any more planned JobCentre Plus closures, call an immediate halt to staff cuts and recruit more staff for JobCentre Plus as a matter of urgency."

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