Council axes funding to advice service

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Unemployed Workers Centre chairman Billy Lees  said he was disgusted by the councils decision
Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Unemployed Workers Centre chairman Billy Lees said he was disgusted by the councils decision

North Lanarkshire Council has axed its funding to Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Unemployed Workers’ Centre.

The organisation has been running for 36 years and after being hit with a 36 per cent funding cut last year had been surviving on just £43,000 a year.

Now, however the Infrastructure Committee has decided to remove all funding to independent advice services from March to save £371,000.

It will now only fund Citizens’ Advice Bureaux across the six localities that make up the council with a total of £432,000.

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Unemployed Workers’ Centre chairman Billy Lees believes the decision will cause a lot of hurt to local people.

He said: “This will be a devastating blow to a lot of desperate people who rely on our services and it is they who will truly suffer.

“The services we provide are different to the CABs, they are not equipped to do the same jobs as us.

“I’m disgusted any council, but particularly a Labour one, would treat people like this, however this is not the end of the campaign this is just the beginning.”

Infrastructure convener Councillor Michael McPake blamed the Scottish Government for forcing them to make the decision.

He said: “Our advice and information centres have already paid the price of austerity in Holyrood over the last few years and unfortunately will be hit again as a result of the Scottish Government’s unwillingness to properly fund local services.”

The SNP Group’s motion asking for further consideration and a rethink was defeated 18-11.