This week I took part in my colleague Paul Flynn’s Westminster Hall debate focusing on the UK Government’s plan to relocate the Newport DWP service centre to a new site in Treforest near Pontypridd.
This move would have a huge impact on staff who commute to work; with the majority of the workforce using public transport. Over 200 staff work at the Sovereign House office in Newport City Centre, delivering support and benefit processing services to members of the public claiming ESA and PIP
In the debate, I spoke on the importance of civil service jobs to Newport and the risks of losing the skills and expertise of Newport DWP staff. The rationale behind the move to Treforest remains unclear – especially as the Government could potentially be spending vast amounts to create a new ‘super-hub’ that many staff will have difficulty travelling to.
It’s incredibly disappointing that the PCS Union and staff in Newport had to learn about the proposed relocation from a leak on an architect’s website. This was before Ministers had a chance to undertake an equality impact assessment of the relocation on staff.
In the debate I emphasised that, if the equality impact assessment confirms that staff with travel difficulties or caring responsibilities will experience significant problems getting to work, the Government should re-think its decision to move away from Sovereign House.
You can read the full transcript of the debate online here: https://goo.gl/eAKCU1