CAB sets out case to avoid budget cut

Marion Fellows MP visits Motherwell and Wishaw CAB earlier this year
Marion Fellows MP visits Motherwell and Wishaw CAB earlier this year

North Lanarkshire’s Citizens’ Advice Bureaux has revealed details of how many people it helped in 2014/15 in a bid to persuade North Lanarkshire Council not to cut its funding.

The council’s ongoing cuts consultation includes a review of posts within advisory services together with external grant funding to save £782,000, which could in theory affect CAB which receives £500, 000 a year.

The five CAB offices in Motherwell, Bellshill, Airdrie, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld helped more than 12,000 individual clients, and delivered for them a total of £10 million in rightful benefit entitlement, compensation, with-held wages, written-off debts, etc.

A total of 3,456 advice sessions were delivered on money advice, 520 families were saved from losing their home, 1,158 crisis grant applications were completed for people in severe poverty, and 1,140 home visits made to people unable to travel.

North Lanarkshire CAB chairman David Hutchison said: “We are very concerned at the prospect of losing some or all of our funding.

“As a charity service we already operate on a very tight budget and fear any cut to our funding could mean that some or all of our offices would have to close.

“We believe that our staff deliver a quality service, with skills and experience that could not be easily replaced.

“We understand these are difficult times and that the council has to make tough decisions with dwindling resources, but one of the top priorities of any council must be to provide a quality advice service to help local people when they need it.

“In the council’s NL Budget Challenge consultation (which can be found at www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/budget) there is a question which asks if people support the review of advisory services.

“If you value your CAB and don’t want to see it disappear, please take part in that consultation and answer that question.”