In response to an increase in demand, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that Bedford is among 80 towns and cities to host a temporary Jobcentre.
As reported in March, the location will be at The Annex at Woodlands off Manton Lane.
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a large increase in unemployment and employment for young people aged 16 – 24-years-old has fallen in Bedford – both above the national average.
A spokesperson for the DWP said: “We have seen, and anticipate further, increases in demand for DWP’s services due to the Covid-19 pandemic and we need to be able to serve more customers to provide them with the support they need.”
The DWP said the site had been chosen to accommodate experienced and newly recruited fixed-term appointment (FTA) ‘work coaches’ to work with clients.
Responding to the news, the MP for Bedford and Kempston, Mohammad Yasin said,
“I’m concerned we are getting a new job centre because it clearly means the Government are expecting many more job losses.”
In a statement, the DWP said the government’s Plan for Jobs is well underway, with 150,000 Kickstart roles created for 16 – 24-year-olds, over 40,000 people supported through Sector-based Work Academies and thousands more set to get rapid digital support through our Job Finding Service (JFS).
However, Mr Yasin said: “The Government’s Kickstart isn’t working and has helped less than 4% to 16- 24-year-olds who’ve lost their job during the pandemic.
“The worst of the economic effects of the crisis are yet to hit us. We can’t go back to business as usual and I’m worried the Government has no plan in place to build back better and is instead focusing its plans on unemployment centres instead of jobs.
“The situation demands a momentous vision to secure the economy and rebuild Britain. We need unparalleled job creation across the country, including 400,000 green jobs if we want to avert the scourge of mass unemployment.”
The DWP say the temporary jobcentes will house some of the country’s 13,500 new ‘work coaches’ – 10,000 of which have already been recruited.
The 80 new temporary jobcentres are the first phase of the programme to expand this support in response to the pandemic, with dozens more expected to follow, to help millions of job seekers from all over the UK find their next role and get back on track.
Minister for Employment, Mims Davies said: “With more new, temporary jobcentres in place in the heart of our communities, we can support even more people impacted by the pandemic to find work and progress into new roles.
“We’ve already boosted our DWP Work Coaches by 10,000 – and with these new local jobcentres to operate from, we can drive forward our Plan for Jobs, creating fresh opportunity for people all across the country.”