DISAPPOINTMENT and outrage have been heaped on a government announcement that Shaftesbury and Wimborne Jobcentre Plus offices will be closed.

The offices provide help and advice on jobs and training for people who can work, and financial help for those who cannot.

Those seeking assistance and advice will be forced to travel to Blandford or Poole instead.

North Dorset MP Robert Walter said he condemned the announcement.

He has been advised the Shaftesbury office will close on March 13, and the Wimborne office will close on March 19.

Bob has said: "I am not surprised by the government's announcement.

"They have shown time and again they are not willing to listen to the concerns of people in rural and semi-rural areas such as North Dorset.

"They have little appreciation for the importance of services being available close to where people live. I'm very disappointed the government has ignored representations by me and others about the importance of Shaftes-bury and Wimborne Jobcentre Plus."

He said the announcement comes at a time when the government was planning to close 2,500 post offices leaving many rural areas in Dorset without a vital post office, and using public transport to get around was not easy, particularly for those with health and mobility problems.

Wimborne town mayor Anthony Oliver said: "I feared it was going to happen.

"I think it's sad. It's another facility in the town going and there are a lot of people that use it.

"The people who are going in there are people out of work who presumably are going to have difficulty in finding money to get to Poole or Blandford searching for jobs."

Cllr Oliver said he was also concerned that the staff would be made redundant.

In a letter to Bob, Department of Work and Pensions minister Caroline Flint said she was satisfied that Jobcentre Plus in Blandford and Poole would be able to provide services for Shaftesbury and Wimborne and she was therefore endorsing the closure of Shaftesbury and Wimborne offices.

The announcement follows the Conservative promise to reform the welfare system. Under Tory plans Jobcentre Plus would be supported and private or third sector organisations encouraged to operate back-to-work programmes.