THE decision to close Goldthorpe job centre has been branded disgraceful by the local MP.

The Government made the announcement yesterday (5 July) after initial proposals in January.

Wentworth & Dearne MP John Healey campaigned against the closure plan and in March met Damian Hinds, the Employment Minister, to demand a rethink.

The rate of long-term illness or disability in the Dearne is three times the national average, and unemployment is double.

The MP said: “The decision to close Goldthorpe job centre is a disgrace. The Government is turning its back on sick, disabled and unemployed people.

“The Dearne has three times more people with long-term illnesses or disabilities, and twice as many people looking for work.

“This proves Tory Ministers have no interest in helping people find a job.

“Closing the local job centre will hit the most vulnerable and make people’s lives even tougher.”

Goldthorpe is one of more than 70 job centres around the country set to close.

It means people from the Dearne will have to go to Mexborough, which could take up to an hour by bus.

Mr Healey has written to Mr Hinds expressing his concerns about the decision and calling for the full range of job centre services to be provided at an alternative location in Goldthorpe.