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Protesters demonstrate outside Whitstable Job Centre to extend opening hours after being reduced by the Department for Work and Pensions

Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside Whitstable Jobcentre today over growing fears the town centre office will close. 

Anti-cuts campaigners and councillors held placards in the High Street collecting hundreds of signatures on a petition. 

They inlcuded Canterbury Lib Dem and Labour parliamentary candidates James Flanagan and Hugh Lanning and Pat Marsh from the Canterbury Green Party.

The protest was held outside the High Street office

The protest was held outside the High Street office

The protest was held after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reduced office hours at the service to two hours a day in April. 

Organiser Chris Weller says it is unfair for jobseekers to travel to Herne Bay for help to get back into work.

He said: "Whitstable's job seekers face loss of benefits if they are late plus extra travel costs.

"This travelling is especially hard for disabled job seekers. 

"As Whitstable grows our public services diminishes with the post office, delivery office, council office, tourist information, museum and now it seems the job centre."

Campaigners outside the Whitstable job centre

Campaigners outside the Whitstable job centre

The group are demanding an immediate reinstatement of 9am to 5pm hours and equal services available at Herne Bay Jobcentre. 

The petition will be presented to Jobcentre district manager Dave Ashdown. 

Changes over Jobcentre hours are being discussed between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Public and Commerical Services Union.

DWP spokesman Steve Milne reiterated the opening hours were changed to reflect the number of claimants signing on there.

See video here: 

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