Decision day on budget cuts for advice services

Citizens Advice Bureaux management and staff protest outside Motherwell Civic Centre as they fight to avoid having their budget cut by North Lanarkshire Council
Citizens Advice Bureaux management and staff protest outside Motherwell Civic Centre as they fight to avoid having their budget cut by North Lanarkshire Council

North Lanarkshire Council meets this afternoon (Thursday) to vote on cutting funding for external information and advice services.

Originally the Transformation Committee was to meet this morning to approve savings of approximately £210,000 for the 2016/17 financial year.

However, the decision has now been put in the hands of the Policy and Resources Committee which meets at 2pm.

As a result of the cuts North Lanarkshire’s five Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) will lose around £124,000 and five independent organisations, including Tannochside Information and Advice Centre, will lose around £86,000.

The council is also looking to develop a commissioning model over the next year on either a North Lanarkshire or pan-Lanarkshire basis.

This will enable third sector organisations to bid on their own, or jointly, to provide independent advice services on behalf of the council, and would be funded by the money which currently goes to CAB.

North Lanarkshire Citizens Advice Bureaux handed a petition into Motherwell Civic Centre against the cuts, which will also be noted this afternoon.

David Hutchison, chairman of NLCABx, said: “We do not believe the people of North Lanarkshire would support the council’s proposals to reduce CAB funding, nor run the risk that a private profit-making organisation wins the new contract to deliver advice.”