§ Mr. Yeo
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what assessment has been made of the impact on rural areas of the mergers of jobcentres with unemployment benefit offices;
(2) if he will list those towns with populations below 10,000 whose mergers of jobcentres and unemployment benefit offices have taken place in the last 12 months;
(3) if he will list the towns with population below 10,000 whose mergers of jobcentres and unemployment benefit offices will take place during the current financial year;436W
(4) what steps are being taken to maintain access to his Department's services for people in rural areas following the reduction in the number of jobcentres and unemployment benefit offices resulting from his policy of merging these two.
§ Mr. Eggar
On 1 December 1989 my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir N. Fowler) said that the employment service would be moving progressively to bring jobcentres and benefit offices together under one roof to form a new network of employment service offices.
As part of this development it remains ES policy to provide its clients in rural areas with reasonable access to the full range of ES services. This will continue to be provided in the new network of employment service offices and supplemented in some locations through the use of outreach facilities to deliver advisory and counselling programmes and other services. By the end of March 1990 113 new offices had been established. Some 500 offices are scheduled to be established by March 1991. The information on size of towns where ES offices are located is not readily available and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Right hon. and hon. Members are informed when changes are to be made to employment service offices in their constituencies.