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Jobcentres: Chard

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will assess the environmental impact of closing the jobcentre in Chard; and if he will make a statement. (144122)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Gentleman with the information requested.

Letter from Mel Groves, dated 26 June 2007:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the environmental impact resulting from the proposed closure of Chard Jobcentre. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to Lesley Strathie as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. I am replying on her behalf as Acting Chief Executive.

No specific environmental impact assessment has been undertaken. However the decision to consider Chard for potential closure has taken account of the likely additional travel requirements for both customers and staff. Consideration will be given to postal arrangements for customers who may experience particular difficulty with any future travel requirements.

We are continuing to develop our nationwide network of Jobcentres, and to review and improve our services. Advances in technology and the increased availability of Contact Centre facilities mean that increasing numbers of customers, including employers, access our services via the Internet or telephone. This will result in a positive environmental impact as the necessity to travel to attend our offices is reduced.

I hope this is helpful.