HC Deb 27 June 1996 vol 280 cc225-6W
Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) how many callers and inquiries have been handled at the Buckley Employment Service premises in(a) 1994 and (b) 1995; [34728]

(2) if she will review her decision to close the Employment Service premises in Buckley, Flintshire; [34730]

(3) if she will visit the Employment Service premises in Buckley, Flintshire; [34727]

(4) if she will meet the (a) Flintshire county council and (b) Buckley town council to discuss the future of the Employment Services premises in Buckley, Flintshire; [34729]

(5) how many Employment Service premises have been closed since 1992; and if she will make a statement. [34731]

Mr. Forth

Responsibility for the subject of the questions has been delegated to the Employment Service under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Robert Home to Mr. Barry Jones, dated 27 June 1996: The Secretary of State has asked me, in the absence of the Chief Executive, to reply to your questions concerning the closure of die Buckley Jobcentre, Flintshire later this year. In response to your question about the number of callers and enquiries that have been handled at the Buckley Employment Service (ES) premises in 1994 and 1995,1 am unable to provide the precise information you ask for. Jobcentres are not required to collect this information as a matter of course, however the following information does provide a good indication of regular callers at Buckley: The number of clients claiming benefit and signing each week averaged 300 per week for 1994 and 270 per week for 1995. The number of job submissions each week averaged 156 per week for 1994 and 170 per week for 1995. (These figures are not necessarily in addition to the number of clients signing as many would be submitted to job vacancies on their signing day.) Since 1992, ES has closed 37 offices nationally. The ES always keeps its operations under review and the decision to close Buckley Jobcentre was not taken lightly. Buckley is a small town 2½ miles from Mold. Mold ESJ offers clients the full range of ES services. There is a regular bus service every 15 minutes between Buckley and Mold and other ESJs within easy reach are Wrexham (12 miles) and Shotton (6 miles). The ES can do more to help its clients through its larger offices which offer the full range of ES services than small offices which offer only a limited service. Office closures are also linked to the ES programme to bring Jobcentre and Benefit Services together under one roof, a policy now required by the ES' role in the delivery of the Jobseekers' Allowance. In respect of your request that the Secretary of State visits the ES premises at Buckley and meets Flintshire County Council and Buckley Town Council, perhaps the most appropriate course of action would be for the District Manager, Ted Pinch and the Director for Wales, Bernard Pearce, to meet with you to discuss Employment Service provision in Buckley and Flintshire. Should you wish to contact Ted Pinch, his telephone number is 01978 203500 and Bernard Pearce can be contacted on 01222 380705. I hope this is helpful.