Negotiations to relocate the Chesham Job Centre to the town library have stalled, Minister for Employment Damian Hinds has confirmed.

The move of the Jobcentre Plus, currently based in Red Lion Street, was part of a nationwide change to how the company operates.

Mr Hinds announced the move in January and said the welfare state “needs to keep pace” with the fact most transactions are now made online.

However, according to Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan, the plan to relocate the service to Chesham Library is not currently possible.

The centre was to move from Red Lion Street to Chesham Library

She said: “The outline proposal was to relocate the Job Centre to Chesham Library, but it has not proved possible to do this.

“Although we still have low unemployment in Chesham and Amersham, it is essential that those people still looking for work can access the support they need."

Mrs Gillan asked to be kept informed on any developments and also asked for assurances on staff jobs and the services that are being provided for her constituents.

She added: “I want to reassure people using the Job Centre facilities that they will get the support they need there as they look for jobs.”

Currently, 20% of Chesham’s branch is underused, due to 80% of applications for Jobseeker's Allowance and 99.6% for Universal Credit being submitted online.

On top of that, since 2010, 2.7 million more people are in work, youth unemployment has fallen by 366,000 and the employment rate is at a record high.

'Welfare state must keep pace'

When the nationwide changes were announced, Mr Hinds said the plans reflect the increased use of the internet.

“The way the world works has changed rapidly in the last 20 years and the welfare state needs to keep pace,” he said.

“As more people access their benefits through the internet many of our buildings are underused. We are concentrating our resources on what we know best helps people to work.

“The changes we’ve announced will help ensure that the way we deliver our services reflects the reality of today’s welfare system.”

The Department of Work and Pensions's plan is to merge 78 smaller Jobcentre Plus offices with larger ones, co-locate 50 offices with local authorities or community services and close 27 back office buildings.