Planning has recommended for a massive new back-office HQ for the Department for Work and Pensions – DWP in the welsh town of Rhondda Cynon Taff. You’d wonder were they’re getting the money when they are claiming they need to making savings. Well in true Tory fashion like over £1 billion other government assets it is “forward funded”, (ie;rent due), by a private firm.
Impression of the new back-office HQ – (DWP)
Rhondda Cynon Taff Council’s planning officers have recommended that a new office for DWP back office operations goes ahead.
The 3 acre site which the DWP hopes to open by 2021 would house it’s back-office operations such as those for processing benefit claims and appeals. It is “claimed” that the new HQ will provide 1500 jobs to the area, by providing they mean relocating other staff.
Despite the The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union claiming it will be “devastating” for staff currently working at other offices across the area the DWP have ploughed ahead.
The union has claimed that over half of the staff will be unable to relocate especially those with disabilities or caring responsibilities.
The irony here is that this will force them onto Universal Credit should they be unable to move. Something I’m sure will strike fear into their hearts if they really know what it’s like.
PCS Wales Chair Katrine Williams told the BBC that the concentration of civil service work into “huge hubs” was “devastating jobs in local communities across the UK”.
“There is no understanding of the public transport issues involved in travelling across the valleys, or the congestion problems,” she added.
“Our members have decades of experience in delivering benefits and services to pensioners, the unemployed and sick and disabled claimants.
“DWP management are apparently prepared to throw this expertise away, given that up to half the staff would be unable to move with the work.”
If you currently live in Merthyr Tydfil and want to make it for a 9AM start you’ll have to leave at 6.13AM and take a train for 1 hour and 45 minutes with one change. At the end you’ll have a fair walk to the new office.
These five local communities will see a negative effect on their economy as some staff will inevitably relocate to the be closer to the new building. A drop in footfall in local shops from staff calling in before and after work would also likely occur.
Gerald Jones the Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, has said that despite the approval he will fight for the 250 jobs in the Merthyr office.
“Moving these jobs out of the town centre makes no sense
The Welsh Government are continuing to build Merthyr Tydfil as an economic hub in the valleys but the Department of Work and Pensions moving jobs out of the town would weaken that cause.”
Who’s paying for it though?
You might ask but they’re cutting benefits so how can they afford this? Well the answer to that question is; they can’t.
The building is being forward funded by firm Legal and General. Once the building is complete they will take full ownership and the government will pay a rental charge which has yet to be disclosed.
What I do find annoying is that this company have control of over £1 billion of government assets. When talking about gaining it’s seventh government hub, Tom Roberts the Head of strategic investments at Legal & General said;
“This deal is the latest in a line of successful acquisitions of such Government backed investments which have now surpassed the £1bn mark in the last year…”
This was in 2017 they passed the £1 billion mark and they’ve since gained another two big government hubs. How much rent is being charged for these buildings?
It’s worthy to note that taxpayers money is also paid to Legal & General by the BBC, for rent of their HQ in Salford.
Foodbank use is on the rise across the country with a rise on average of 13% across the UK.
Instead of spending to fix the issues they already have and help the over 4 million people who used foodbanks last year, they’re giving it to private firms so they can have swanky new offices.7
It’s typical with this government that big business will benefit for this while joe public like me and you will suffer when they claim they need to make cuts.
Speaking of Foodbanks I need your help
The summer holidays has placed unprecedented pressure on foodbanks with what is known as “Holiday Hunger.” Children who usually rely on free school meals and school breakfast clubs now don’t have that luxury.
Many parent are now finding they cannot afford to feed their children and are turning to foodbanks.
I have started a petition calling on the government to provide immediate emergency funding for UK foodbanks. We cannot let the public do what the Tories should have done years ago.
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We are seeing the industrial revolution all over again? Only this time it’s not people having to move because the cities were producing products far cheaper and quicker than any woman in a cottage could, it is about benefits and making the employees of the DWP either move with the work or become a statistic on the other side of the counter.
There is no middle ground like work from home it’s work there where we are moving too or lose your job, the new employee will then rather do exactly as they are told or lose the job as well, it will be a 12 week trial period. If they cannot find anyone to replace those that leave because of other responsibilities like caring, wouldn’t that be not making reasonable adjustments like allowing the person to work from home? But we all know DWP and reasonable don’t go together!
There is also the extra expenses like train travel or milage if they drive, if they have a limited mileage allowance and they exceed it they pay a penalty. Would the employer pay the excess mileage charges? Would the hell, even if travel to the previous place kept them under the mileage allowance! Would the employer pay for a train ticket every day or their petrol costs every week? again they wouldn’t as the story says the season ticket costs £532, that’s £2000 a year that IMHO the employee would be worse off by. travelling by train.
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