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Jobcentre Plus: Sutton

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) staffing and (b) office space capacity of the Jobcentre Plus office at Helena House, Sutton, in connection with increased demand resulting from (i) the economic downturn, (ii) changes to incapacity benefit and (iii) changes to other welfare benefits; and if he will make a statement. (254512)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Mel Groves:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on what assessment has been made of the need for additional staff and office accommodation at Sutton Jobcentre in connection with increased demand resulting from the economic downturn, changes to incapacity benefit and other welfare benefits. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

We have already placed an additional ten staff in Sutton Jobcentre and are in the process of recruiting further staff. We are currently looking at the possibility of taking on an extra floor at Helena House to give us extra capacity. I am unable to provide a firm timescale at this stage as the space we are seeking is currently occupied by another Government Department. I have asked my District Manager for South London, Chris Nichol, to keep you updated with progress on this and related work to respond to the rise in unemployment in Sutton, and changes to the welfare system.