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Jobcentre refuses to let man use phone to find work

Tony Portch, outside the Jobcentre, Sheerness
Tony Portch, outside the Jobcentre, Sheerness

An unemployed man says Jobcentre staff would not serve him because potential positions he had found had not come from them.

Tony Portch claims he asked to use the phone to inquire about two jobs when he visited the centre in Millennium Way, Sheerness, on Friday.

But he was told he could not use it as the positions were not advertised by the government agency.

And the 25-year-old dad-of-two claims staff then refused to issue him with a travel warrant so he could use public transport to get to Maidstone and register with two recruitment agencies.

Mr Portch, of Aspen Drive, Minster, signed on a month ago but has been unemployed since he left his job as a trainee electrician at the end of March.

He was just a year away from qualifying but chose to leave the company he was working for because he says he was not getting paid on time.

He said: “If I’d known it was going to be this hard to get a job, I wouldn’t have left.

“I don’t enjoy being out of work and going from earning £1,300 after tax to £110 every two weeks; it’s a joke.

“It was a baker and a warehouse operative job that I’d seen advertised on Gumtree.

“I’ve got a mobile but no credit. I just thought as I was in there I could use the phone. I couldn’t believe it when they said 'no’.

“I used a friend’s phone to call the numbers. Both jobs were with recruitment agencies so I booked appointments to register with them on Wednesday.

“I went back to the centre and asked for a travel warrant but they said I could only have one if I had a job interview.

“I thought they were meant to help people find work.”

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions would not refer to Mr Portch’s case specifically, but said: “Phones are available for people using Jobcentre Plus to use, although they must make it clear to staff what they’re doing.

“Travel warrants are issued on a case-by-case situation to help people travel to job interviews. People must discuss the need for one with their Jobcentre adviser.”

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