MSP demands a better explanation over decision not to fund Cumbernauld group

Jamie Hepburn has no issue with Tannochside Information and Advice Centre being funded, he just believes Cumbernauld Poverty Action should be treated the same
Jamie Hepburn has no issue with Tannochside Information and Advice Centre being funded, he just believes Cumbernauld Poverty Action should be treated the same

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn has demanded a better response from North Lanarkshire Council over concerns about funding for Cumbernauld Poverty Action.

Previously both Cumbernauld Poverty Action (formerly known as the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Unemployed Workers Centre) Tannochside Information and Advice Centre (TIAC) groups lost all funding through the council’s tendering process for the provision of advice services.

At this year’s budget the council awarded £26,000 to TIAC, but failed to consider doing the same for the Cumbernauld group.

Mr Hepburn and Mr McDonald wrote to the council seeking answers and have condemned response, similar to the one given to the Times & Speaker last month that merely set out that residents in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth who are looking for advice and information on welfare benefits, debt and money advice, can receive it from elsewhere, but failed to explain why one group was funded over the other.

Mr Hepburn said: “For the council’s response to merely set out that the decision to award funding for the Tannochside Information and Advice Centre was taken as part of the budget process and that residents in our area can contact the council’s Financial Inclusion Team or the Citizens’ Advice Bureau does not suffice by way of explaining the difference in approach between the service in Tannochside and for Cumbernauld Poverty Action.”.

“The same position could have held true for the Tannochside service, so why are North Lanarkshire Council treating our area in a second class fashion.

“I have no problem at all with the Tannochside Information and Advice Centre being supported, but so should Cumbernauld Poverty Action be too. The council must explain their decision properly, and more important still, reconsider their position.”

Mr Hepburn has now co-written a letter with Stuart McDonald MP to Lizanne McMurrich, the council’s head of Communities, seeking a more detailed explanation.