Businesses baffled by decision to pull key service from Kendal Job Centre Plus

Businesses and local Politicians have been left baffled by a decision, secretly sent out on February 11th, to cut the mandatory National Insurance Interview service from Job Centre Plus sites in Kendal, Penrith and Carlisle.

Every non-UK citizen must have an interview to get a National Insurance number before they can work and will now have to travel as far as Preston for the mandatory interview. The memo to staff at Job Centre Plus sites was sent out on February 11th and was not published publicly. 

The situation was only discovered when the General Manager of Wild Boar Inn near Windermere, Andy Lemm, tried to book an interview and then contacted local Councillor Ben Berry who said the following:

“This is a very serious situation indeed. Cumbria attracts many hardworking non-UK citizens, historically finding transport to get them to Kendal was hard enough, now to get them to Preston is ridiculous. Its just made the barrier ten times bigger for business. The national insurance interview is an important function of ensuring the right to work, but we should be making it easier on businesses not harder.”

Ben Berry is asking for business leaders, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria’s MP’s to lobby the Department for Work and Pensions for a compromise. 

The question to South Lakeland Distict Council will be asked tonight at a full council meeting and reads:

“Will this administration join me in lobbying Mark Hoban MP, Minister for Employment and the Right Honourable Ian Duncan Smith MP, to ask that the desicion to remove National Insurance Interview services from Kendal be overturned because of our rurality and a large amount of hardworking transient non-UK population that support our industries and economy?”

(3) Comments

  1. Ben I have read your blog with interest and I am well aware that over 50% of Cumbria’s hospitality sector is staffed by migrant workers but could I respectfully suggest that councillors should perhaps be doing more to get the unemployed 16-24 year olds of Barrow, Carlisle and Penrith into this industry. With 27000 jobs supported many of us are wondering why we have to hire from abroad.
    Noel Matthews
    Cumbria County Chairman, UKIP

    • Whilst many of our best staff are local the reality is we cannot get the staff.
      With unemployment below 1% in South Lakes we struggle to find people, we have 11 jobs up right now on .
      Like you (I assume) I believe in a free market. Jobs are much the same and we find ourselves competing on a global scale. Being protectionist will not solve our employment problems.
      What we do need to do is ensure our young people are best equipt to compete for jobs as well as create their own.

      • It’s a fair point but I am bound to wonder, and this is not about being protectionist, how we are able to attract so many migrant workers into these positions when we have 21% unemployment among 16-24 year olds nationally. I would argue that we should be doing more to employ those out of work young people in Cumbria rather than paving the way for more non-UK labour.

        I’m with you on the idea that young people are best equipped to compete for jobs but that is another issue entirely. I know many people coming out of university with with worthless degrees in subjects that do not lead to jobs. I believe that opportunity for all is now completely discredited, however that is off-topic on this thread.

        Thanks for engaging with me Ben. I will watch your blog for more. No comment on your most recent post by the way because I agree with you!


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