A Labour Party petition calling for Universal Credit claimants in Cam, Dursley and the Berkeley Vale to be allowed to sign on locally has been put on hold after MP David Drew and GL11 negotiated a deal with the Job Centre.
GL11 offered their premises to the more than 100 people forced to travel to Stroud every fortnight to sign on, but the Job Centre declined.
Local Labour Party members started a petition to encourage them to change their mind, and now a compromise has been reached which will see:
- GL11 employment support workers talking to Job Centre coaches to try and alleviate onerous signing on requirements for individuals
- arrangements for claimants to get their discount bus travel card are to be simplified
- a foodbank and café card which is to be trialled by GL11 from June
Dursley Labour councillor Doina Cornell said: “I’m pleased that some progress has been made. The compromise that GL11 and David Drew have brokered still leaves a cost to be paid each fortnight – but getting people a discount on Stagecoach buses to Stroud will help.”
David Drew MP said: “I’m very encouraged by the role that GL11 intends to play in providing support to people on an individual basis.
“It’s disappointing that the Job Centre still declines GL11’s extremely helpful offer to provide, free of charge, somewhere to sign on in Cam. But they say it’s not technologically possible so we have looked for a different solution and put together a three point plan to help.”
Indigo Redfern, Chief Executive at GL11 Community Hub, said: “We are delighted to be able to help by producing documentation for Universal Credit claimants to hand in to the Job Centre in order to get the travel card.
And by setting up the foodbank and cafe card scheme to give those receiving employment support at GL11 three free meals in our cafe each week and one food bank parcel, we hope to help people engage more, make friends and reduce stress levels, especially for those who are encountering problems with finding work and living on very low incomes.”
Doina Cornell said: “We’d like to thank everyone who signed our petition. We’ve already had a great response – local people once again showing their support for others in difficult circumstances.”