Is Cookstown about to lose both its jobs and benefits offices?

DfC Minister Paul Givan
DfC Minister Paul Givan

In the week that Communities Minister Paul Givan announced 280 new jobs for his department, whispers have emerged of plans to close both of Cookstown’s jobs and benefits offices.

Although still waiting on a comment from DfC on the matter, they recently told the Mid Ulster Mail that no workers would lose their jobs if offices closed, but would be offered suitable positions elsewhere.

Angry at that suggestion, workers in Magherafelt’s office - which is also facing the axe amid proposals - said they had ‘done our stint in Belfast’.

The introduction of Universal Credit and welfare reform as part of the Westminster’s austerity measures have been given as reasons for changes to the current jobs and benefits system. And would see movement of jobs in the benefits sector out of up to 20 towns across Northern Ireland.

These 280 new jobs will be based in Armagh and Belfast, while other posts will also be centralised.