On Wednesday I visited the Jobcentre Plus in Northwich to meet staff and discuss a number of issues that constituents have raised with me.
It was great to meet so many dedicated members of staff committed to supporting people in Weaver Vale get back in to work – and I was pleased to see a number of initiatives to raise awareness of job opportunities as well as making sure people are able to access training and improve their skills.
However, despite the fantastic efforts of staff, there remain a number of challenges as a result of this government’s policy. Whilst Universal Credit has the potential to be positive in theory – the way in which this government are designing and overseeing its implementation in practice continues to cause far too many people problems and hardship. That is why I recently called for the rollout that is due for Northwich in December to be suspended. I am also concerned that the implementation of the approach in Runcorn has in part been responsible for the very concerning and disappointing unemployment figures in Weaver Vale which were released yesterday and showed unemployment going up both in the last month, and over the last year too. These figures show that, once again, this government is leaving Weaver Vale behind – and I will be doing all I can in parliament to support jobs, skills and opportunities in our area.