PLANNING permission to turn a Scots Jobcentre into flats was granted nine months before Work and Pensions bosses revealed plans to close it, it has emerged.

Glasgow North MP Carol Monaghan told a Westminster Hall debate that a request to change the use of the Anniesland Jobcentre in her constit- uency was submitted to Glasgow City Council in February and granted the following month.

However, moves to shut the base and seven others were only revealed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) earlier this month – nine months later.

The revelation follows investigations by Monaghan’s team and yesterday she said those depending on the site had been “deliberately excluded” from the decision-making process and said the news raises concerns about the future of offices all over the UK.

Addressing Employment Minister Damian Hinds, she said: “It’s time for the minister and his department to come clean about how widespread these proposals are across the UK.

“I can’t imagine Glasgow is unique in finding these things out at the 11th hour.”

Plans to slash Glasgow’s 16 Jobcentres by half have met with widespread criticism from commun-ities, politicians and advocacy groups.

Just three of the closures are out for public consultation because the DWP says the offices to which the services of the others will transfer are too close. Yesterday, several city MPs invited Hinds to make bus journeys with them and see what locals with face if the changes go ahead.

Monaghan told how she had already travelled from Knightswood to the proposed replacement centre to experience the disruption for herself. Glasgow South MP Stewart McDonald [NOTE:CORR], who tabled the end-of-term debate, said, accused Hinds of “picking a fight”, saying: “The minister picked this fight, we’ll pick it up after the Christmas recess.”

Earlier, McDonald highlighted the outcry over the proposals, saying: “The minister has managed to unite not just the Glasgow MPs against these plans and not just members of the Scottish Parliament, including two from his own party who represent Glasgow, he has united the Church of Scotland against them, he has united the trade unions against him, he has united the Catholic Church against them and he has united two very large communities in my constituency against the plans.”

Hinds said the consultation will take on board the views of affected groups and the plans are aimed at modernising the service and saving public money, adding that Glasgow’s the claimant count in Glasgow has fallen since 2010.

Glasgow South West MP Chris Stephens urged Hinds: “Please give Glasgow an early Christmas present and halt these proposals.”

Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is among 19 signatories to a letter asking Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green to “abandon the planned closures in order to protect the most disadvantaged communities” in the city.