Cuts Watch#357: Citizens Advice Services face closure
The Guardian reports that five Birmingham Citizens Advice offices are to close and 900 debt advisers are to be made redundant across the country, as council cuts start to hit charities.
All five Citizens Advice drop-in offices will close in Birmingham next month as funding has been terminated by the city council. In addition redundancy notices were sent to 900 debt advice workers across the country last week because of a central government decision not to renew funding for a specialist debt advisory service, mostly provided by Citizens Advice, catering for people in the country’s most deprived areas.
This follows the announcement that funding for the CAB has been discontinued by the City of London and is expected to be cut back by almost 70% in Nottingham. Further announcements of closures of Citizens Advice services are expected across the country over the next few weeks as local authorities work out precisely where to make savings.
The charity’s chief executive, Gillian Guy said.
We have never been needed more than we are now…. There is a serious threat to the CAB, an organisation which has been going since the 1930s. It makes no sense because the demand for the support that CAB gives is increasing and will continue to increase because of all the financial and social changes that are happening.
Last year Citizens Advice’s services helped 2.1 million people deal with around 7.1m problems – an increase of 23% on the previous year. Its walk-in offices offer people help with benefits problems, employment rights, housing, consumer issues, redundancy, debt and legal problems.
The charity says
By definition, these services are used by people with very low incomes and limited means.