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?”