Last week, the government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) announced that it would be closing its offices, at Durham House in Washington, and moving the 945 jobs to Sunderland Wear View House.
Durham House will close its doors in December of 2022.
This is the largest closure as part of a wider package announced by the government on Thursday 17 March. The closures have been split into three categories with some offices being retained in the short term, others closing and being consolidated into new locations, whilst some sites will close permanently without being re-located. This will amount to 1100 DWP job losses and 42 centre closures which will risk a further 7000 jobs, 1300 of which are in the North East.
The jobs at Durham House represent 2% of all employment across the Washington and Sunderland West constituency which will now be moving away from the town centre.
Sharon Hodgson MP has launched a petition calling for the government to reverse its decision which will be taken to Parliament:
Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West, said:
“The government are taking away 945 jobs from local communities who need them. The viability of our high streets and transport networks depends upon people living and working locally.
They are also putting the jobs of the contracted facility staff on a cliff edge.
This Tory government is choosing to deliver a hammer blow to working people in the middle of a cost of living crisis. They say they are levelling up, but the reality is closing down.
I’m collecting signatures on my petition to call on the government to reverse their decision and keep Durham House open.”