Unemployed face ‘ride or eat’ dilemma

Grangemouth jobcentre
Grangemouth jobcentre

Unemployed people living in Bo’ness, Linlithgow and South Queensferry face the choice of walking miles to their nearest jobcentre - or taking the bus and then not having enough money to feed their families.

Linlithgow and East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty, who led a campaign against the closure of the Bo’ness jobcentre several years ago, said this was causing severe hardship to his constituents - something he predicted would happen at the time.

He says he will now back any campaign for a jobcentre presence in Bo’ness, even for one day a week.

He said: ‘’I have been aware of this problem for some time and predicted this would happen. I have written several letters in support of many of my constituents who have to sign on in Grangemouth, for whom this is causing severe difficulty. If they fail to attend, they get sanctioned.

‘’Jobcentres are run by an agency. They decided to sell off their premises and rent them back, they then decided to rationalise and the Bo’ness office closed to save £250,000. This was a cheapskate decision which is now causing people severe hardship.

‘’I would now support any campaign to have some sort of presence in Bo’ness.’’

The return fare from Bo’ness to Grangemouth is in excess of £5 - money which could be used for food.

One Journal and Gazette reader said she had become very aware of the problem. She said: “ The unemployed in Bo’ness, Linlithgow and South Queensferry are all being victimised. People in Falkirk and Grangemouth can walk into the jobcentres but the outlying towns have to pay bus fares out of the funds that they have.

“Something must be done. We are getting more people needing assistance, living on the bread line in our towns.” She called for a jobcentre presence in Bo’ness one day a week.