Jobcentre staff assaults increasing in economic downturn

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London, Dec 21 (ANI): There has been a significant increase in the number of abuse cases against jobcentre staff over the past one year, according to figures released in British parliament.

Jobcentre Plus is a government agency supporting people from welfare into work and helping employers fill vacancies. The government had planned to make efficiency savings, but was criticised for closures as the country entered recession.

According to the data, there were 13,378 assaults reported in 2008-09 by Jobcentre Plus staff, of which 12,188 were verbal and 896 were attempted physical assaults.

There were 294 actual assaults, almost one a day.

The data was released in answers to parliamentary questions tabled by the Conservatives.

"These are shocking figures" the Guardian quoted the shadow work and pensions secretary, Theresa May, as saying.

"Jobcentre staff are doing their best in very difficult circumstances with centres coming under increasing pressure because of rising benefit claims during the recession.

"However, some of the blame for this lies at the door of the government. Their irresponsible decision to close a jobcentre every week during 2008, when unemployment was rising, has put an unbearable strain on staff," May added. (ANI)

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