Nick Thomas-Symonds MP slams Tories on their decision to close DWP sites across Wales.

On 9 May 2018, Member of Parliament for Torfaen spoke out in a debate on the decision of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to close pension centres across Wales. The debate, called by Gerald Jones MP, Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, aimed to highlight the issues that such closures would raise for local communities, such as those in Torfaen. 

Since 2016, Mr. Thomas-Symonds has been campaigning for the DWP to reconsider its closure of the Cwmbran Pension Centre by voicing his concerns, and those of his constituents, both in Torfaen and Westminster.  

In his efforts, Mr. Thomas-Symonds had previously raised the matter with the Prime Minister in the House of Commons chamber who stated that the Secretary of State would look “very closely” at the possible closure. 

He further raised the issue of the centre’s closure directly in a meeting with the Minister for Employment, Mr Damian Hinds MP, at which time he invited the Minister to meet his constituents that would be impacted by such closures. 

In the summer of 2017, Mr Thomas-Symonds undertook a commute from Cwmbran to Treforest with a worker, showing that it would be a round-trip on public transport of over five hours. This was covered in the South Wales Argus at the time.  

During the debate on Wednesday, Mr. Thomas-Symonds called the choice to close the site and take jobs from local valleys communities ‘economically illiterate’. He also voiced his concerns in a second intervention in the debate about the disruption and lengthier commute for those in his constituency who currently travel to Sovereign House, Newport, which also faces closure.  

When asked further about the closures, Nick Thomas-Symonds MP stated: 

“The Secretary of State’s decision to go ahead with these closures is hugely disappointing, not only to me but to all of the many constituents who have contacted me over the last year. It is appalling that the Tory Government has made the economically irresponsible choice to close these centres and demonstrates how out-of-touch such a government is with the financial and social needs of its people, and I will continue to speak out on this matter in Parliament.”

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