I dunno really, just dunno

Not only is Kilburn’s jobcentre due to close in the next few months, but so is the neighbouring one in Neasden. This will mean Kilburn residents will be expected to transfer to Wembley – almost 10 miles away – and others to Kentish Town.

Ms. Frances Ryan and numbers. It’s 6.1 miles from Wembley to Kilburn. 2.7 miles to Kentish Town from Kilburn.

Her numbers never really do add up, do they?

44 thoughts on “I dunno really, just dunno”

  1. The horror of travelling 2.7miles to a jobcentre once a week when, because you do not have a job, you have literally nothing else to do…

  2. A 12 mile round trip plus Jobcentre visit would fill most of a day and help keep you fit.

    Presumably they are closing Jobcentres because anyone who wants a job in London can find one, even if they’ve just rocked up from Afghanistan?

  3. There are about 30 trains an hour on the Jubilee Line which links the two. And buses. You could walk it in a couple of hours (though it wouldn’t exactly be scenic).

    As far as rousing the proletariat to revolution goes, this is scraping the barrel.

  4. Ms Ryan may be astonished to learn that millions of people perform feats like that journey, and longer, five times per week. This Great Migration is known as “going to work”.

  5. @Rob

    Good one.

    As someone who once commuted from portsmouth to Rochdale, and then Pompey to Peterborough, I must confess, I’m kind of unmoved but Ryan’s cries.

  6. Why do Jobcentres still exist? Is it because recruitment agencies don’t like to deal with people who have precons?

  7. Rob and Mal,

    Spot on. The unemployed have nothing else to do with their time, and the rest of us not only have to travel to work and back, but we do it typically 5 days a week, not once a fortnight, and moreover, spend the whole day at work too.

  8. Plus, by claiming JSA you have a contractual agreement with the job centre that you will search for and apply for jobs within 90mins travel time of home – which would be every day, not once every 14 days. If you restrict yourself to only considering jobs nearer than your job centre you fail the jobseeker’s agreement.

  9. Perhaps we no longer need jobcentres. The old idea of them being the place to go to find work is now laughable, and for interviews there are other places.
    In this day and age I cannot think what advantage a jobcentre gives except to the staff.

  10. No sympathy on the miscalculated numbers – google maps does indeed say 6.1 miles travel distance from Kilburn to Wembley Jobcentre, so some exaggeration or simply failure to check seems in play. Though obviously people in the further corners will have further to go.

    I’ll express sympathy here on the issue – if you’re completely skint you could do without travel costs (travel to work is different in that you’ve got, hopefully, a better income source), and that really is a bit of a hike. I’ve happily walked further myself but I wouldn’t want to do it with a mobility impairment, and even if the journey is done at a healthy pace then it still takes a big chunk of the day. Less than ideal if you’re meant to be knocking off job applications but also problematic if you have childcare or caring duties. So yes, for some people shutting down a local facility can have lousy repercussions. (That isn’t to say it can’t ever be justified, just that the negative effects are real and need to be compared to the benefits.)

    Where my sympathy runs a little low – this is London. Think what life is like outside big urban areas with adequate public transport networks. Plenty of small towns have no job centre and it can be a pain to get to the nearest large town, rather more of an inconvenience than the one in this article. For someone in a village in the sticks, there may not even be a bus to the nearest job centre. This complaint is, typically for the media, London-centric. If you find it upsetting, then some of what goes on outside London must be absolutely outraging. (Though rationally they largely have to be acceptable costs because it doesn’t make economic sense to put a job centre in every small town and village. Do they have mobile job centres in the most remote areas? Or accept teleconferencing? Should they?)

  11. Move them to Lincolnshire. If you can’t get a job in London after a few weeks, you’re unemployable. You might as well sit on your arse somewhere cheap.

  12. Bloke on M4, I’m sure there’s a bloke in an end terrace in Lincolnshire with a couple of spare bedrooms that could help out with accommodation.

  13. When you burn with a fierce Progressive passion, 6.1 miles IS “almost ten miles”. Rounding up, 5.1 miles is “almost ten miles”.

  14. For six months I lives 32 miles from my job centre, and I was lucky that there were three buses a day. What I usually did was cycle six miles to the “big” village and get the hourly bus from there. These people in London just don’t know what life is like.

  15. In this era of reduced EU workers looking for work at a time we have high employment think of the jobs people can get.
    If not in London in more rural areas. Farm work perhaps.
    Or hospitality. Low skilled jobs that the jobcentre users and ex jobcentre staff can do.

  16. Only the Guardian could spin people having to travel 2.7 miles once a fortnight to get free money as a crisis.

    Thin gruel, Frances. I bet she wishes she had been born fifty years earlier so she could have written firebrand articles about the great social injustices of the day. It breaks my heart to see her reduced to scrabbling in the thin, weed-choked earth for small pickings like this.

  17. @ Newman

    “Some blokes get all the glamorous work, eh?”

    That was a better state of affairs that Peterborough, I can tell you. That side of England’s bloody weird.

    As an aside- my current role is far more glam. Mind you, so would have working in sewerage pipe clearing after Peterborough.

  18. Ach, these part time drivers….
    One short term job had me driving around 400 – 500 miles a day taking assessors to appointments, could do Blackpool to York to Swansea to Llandudno to Manchester to Blackpool. In one day. Then another bunch of towns and cities next day.
    Each appointment being about 10 minutes.

  19. I enjoy London place names – Neasden, Kilburn, Kentish Town.

    I have no idea where these places are so they have a pleasingly fictional quality.

  20. You would know Neasden if you read Private Eye – “ashen-faced” Ron Knee used to manage the football team.

  21. The horrors.

    If unemployed in Switzerland you are expected to look for jobs within a two hour (each way) commute from your residence.

    What is it with Londoners and getting uppity about a fortnightly trip to a job centre that’s minutes on public transport or a couple of hours walk?

  22. At least this article puts to bed the monstrous calumny that the Guardian and all its commentators live in a London-obsessed bubble.

  23. “You would know Neasden if you read Private Eye”: I used to read the Eye until it ratted on its promise of a free lifetime supply. But I assumed Neasden was fictional, like Ron Knee.

  24. Neasden has the biggest Hindu temple outside India. Polishing the elephants alone must soak up any unemployment in that part of London

  25. Everybody

    Frances Ryan is disabled. Allowances must therefore be made for her inability to do her fvcking job as competently as the man on the Clapham omnibus. Nevertheless, even if incompetent, this should not affect her entitlement to equal pay with persons more productive than her.

  26. @ abacab
    It’s not Londoners in general – it’s Grauniad journalists and leftie anti-Tory activists. When I lived in inner London I used to walk to work and most other places. I can *still* walk 6.1 miles in less time than my younger son takes to commute to work by public transport (that he cannot drive due to Nystagmus is the least of his problems).

  27. I live in the vicinity, just as a joke. Anyhoo, it occured to me that there’s ‘Kilburn’ and there’s Kilburn. Just as there’s ‘Wembley’ and there’s Wembley. And even the revised mileage suggested above smelled iffy.

    I mean where, exactly, is Kilburn and where is Wembley – if we’re trying to measure the distance from A to B?

    So using Google maps, I’ve just done a search for walking directions from ‘Halfords Kilburn’ to ‘Wembley Stadium’.

    I choose those two because I reckon no one could argue that, respectively, they were reasonable representations of ‘Kilburn’ and ‘Wembley’.

    Answer from Google? 4.8 miles.

    I routinely on a daily basis walk at least half of that, with a heavy bag, in addition to travelling to wherever i have to go to.

    [cue: cigar-smoking yorkshiremen]

  28. Oh, and you try getting the average criminal defendant/welfare recipient out of bed in time for a 10am hearing in court.

    [snarls …]

  29. Of course, on the bright side, you don’t need to worry about being pick-pocketed during the morning rush hour because the criminal-leisured-welfare class, ahem, sorry, I mean working classes, are not yet out of bed.

  30. If you put “Wembley” and “Kilburn” into Google maps and choose the default road settings, it convinces itself that the North Circular is a fast route and sends you 9.3 miles.

    One glance at the map will tell you that this is a ridiculous answer.

  31. Richard, google and indeed tomtom can send people the long way round to a destination. We only use either of them when we don’t know where we are going, once we know the area well enough we can shave time and distance from the journey.
    Wife came to pick me up at Wolverhampton university one day, sat nav took her down the A5. Adding about 8 miles and 30 minutes to her journey.

  32. @ dearieme: yes, London and indeed the whole of the UK has some splendidly evocative place names. A stretch of the Edgware Road that passes through Kilburn and then through Wembley is called Shoot Up Hill. But here’s a mystery that I’ve been pondering since I read one of Mark Steyne’s great essays on popular show tunes (the man has many talents): Why are there so many great US songs that reference its geography, but so few UK ones? Outside London, Skye, Scarborough, Tipperary, and a couple of Beatles Liverpool references, the cupboard is surprisingly bare. Maybe songwriters struggle to find rhymes to make with such unruly place names as Lower Wallop, Stiffington etc.

  33. @ Edward Lud
    The leisured welfare class are non-criminal;pensioners and *are* generally out of bed before the morning rush-hour starts

  34. Bloke in North Dorset


    Jobseekers get discounts on the already relatively cheap busses and underground.

    As to the distance, our nearest is over 10 miles and we have one bus a day in the morning and back in the evening, during school term.

    Whinges like that don’t get much sympathy round these parts, which is probably why you don’t see many copies of thew Guardian lying around.

  35. “Mal Reynolds
    November 2, 2017 at 9:27 am

    The horror of travelling 2.7miles to a jobcentre once a week when, because you do not have a job, you have literally nothing else to do…”

    Oh lord man. I’m helping a friend set up a convenience store here and part of that is working the register. I have multiple customers who show up around 10 in the morning to buy *a* beer and then come back every two hours all day long to buy one more each time.

    Because if they just bought them all at once they’d just be sitting on their couch all day and never leave the house at all.

  36. BiND

    “Jobseekers get discounts on the already relatively cheap busses and underground.”

    I’m clearly a softie but even with the discount, it’s an expense someone skint could do without. And I do wonder what the practical purpose of the whole system is.

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