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Second Jobcentre to open in Folkestone as part of response to the pandemic


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A second Jobcentre is due to open in a town centre as a direct result of the coronavirus lockdown.

Work is taking place to renovate an empty shop in Sandgate Road, Folkestone, where the new Jobcentre Plus will open.

A new JobCentre Plus is opening in Folkestone. Picture: Sean Axtell
A new JobCentre Plus is opening in Folkestone. Picture: Sean Axtell

The unit was previously occupied by Poundstretcher, and sits next to the former Clintons cards, which is vacant.

A Jobcentre already exists in Folkestone, in Palting Way, Trinity Road. This site will remain open.

It comes as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are planning on opening more sites as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesman for DWP said: "I can confirm there will be a new Jobcentre but this is in addition and not replacing the existing one.

"As a part of our response to the pandemic, DWP is exploring potential options to take premises on a temporary basis in various locations across the country.

The team at Bouverie Place shopping centre are supporting a campaign asking for business rate relief
The team at Bouverie Place shopping centre are supporting a campaign asking for business rate relief

"Any new site is temporary and is in addition to existing provision.

"Any decisions on new premises and contracts will be available on Gov.uk. Because of the commercial nature of the negotiations we cannot share any further detail at this stage."

Figures from January revealed unemployment rose 116% last year, and lockdown left over 68,000 in Kent navigating a difficult job market.

It is not yet known when the new Jobcentre will open its doors.

Poundstretcher closed earlier this year and Clintons closed in February last year, a month after Debenhams also left Sandgate Road.

In recent years Next and Peacocks have also left the town's high street.

Bosses at Bouverie Place shopping centre are now supporting a campaign being run by retail organisations Revo asking for business rate relief.

It comes as retail industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The campaign encourages people to contact their MP to ask 'for a permanent and substantial cut in business rates to save local shops, protect jobs and support our community'.

For more, visit savelocalshops.eaction.online/savelocalshops

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