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Closure of Seaham DWP Office

Volume 715: debated on Monday 6 June 2022

17. If she will publish the individual site assessment on the closure of her Department's office in Seaham. (900290)

An overarching equality assessment has been completed, which considers the impact on all DWP colleagues. This has been made available for the House in the Library, and I am also arranging for the site-specific equality assessment for Seaham to be shared with the hon. Member.

I thank the Minister for that response, but previously when I have raised the issue of the Seaham site, I have been assured or reassured that DWP employees at that office would be relocated to other offices within the region. Is she aware that the private bus operator Go North East is proposing cuts and changes to 80 regional bus services, many affecting my area? Does that not show that the DWP planning assumptions are rather precarious? Many of the DWP closures, including the one in Seaham, are in areas of economic deprivation that can ill afford to lose good-quality public sector jobs.

This network design change is to reshape how the Department works, resulting in a smaller, greener and better-quality estate for our colleagues. Many of these buildings across the land offer back-of-house functions, and they are just not good-quality buildings for our colleagues. I absolutely understand the point. Where colleagues are being offered new opportunities to go to the Wear View House site in Sunderland, which is approximately 7.5 miles away, there will be individual one-to-one conversations with them about what is right for them and how they can stay with DWP and continue in a role that works for them.