Parliamentarians demand to know why Cumbernauld advice centre did not receive funding

Jamie Hepburn MSP and Stuart McDonald MP held a Pensions/Pension Credit Surgery in Kilsyth last week, they will be holding another one at the Muirfield Centre in Cumbernauld on Friday, April 26, at 1pm.
Jamie Hepburn MSP and Stuart McDonald MP held a Pensions/Pension Credit Surgery in Kilsyth last week, they will be holding another one at the Muirfield Centre in Cumbernauld on Friday, April 26, at 1pm.

Parliamentarians are demanding to know why North Lanarkshire Council has approved funding for an independent financial advice centre in Tannochside, but not one in Cumbernauld.

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn and Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East MP Stuart McDonald have written to council chief executive Des Murray regarding the decision to fund Tannochside Information and Advice Centre in the council budget.

A tendering process last year saw funding restricted to Citizen’s Advice Bureau-run facilities across North Lanarkshire, resulting in the loss of funding to the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Unemployed Workers’ Centre.

However, in February the council awarded £26,000 to TIAC, whilst not assigning any to the Cumbernauld Poverty Action (the new name for the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Unemployed Workers Centre).

Mr Hepburn said: “Cumbernauld Poverty Action has helped countless people with money advice and support in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and further afield.

“I have nothing against the Tannochside service being funded, but it is outrageous that our local service won’t be similarly supported.

“That’s why we’re looking for answers from the council for their decision to only fund one service and what the rationale was.”

Mr McDonald added: “As parliamentarians we know only too well, the impact the UK welfare reforms continue to have in our communities.

“It beggars belief that the council would slash funding to our local centre one year and then stumble across funding for its equivalent elsewhere the following year.

“It seems, once again, that the area is being short-changed by North Lanarkshire Council.”

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council responded: “At the budget setting meeting in February it was agreed to provide funding for the Tannochside Information and Advice Centre.

“Residents in Cumbernauld who are looking for advice and information on welfare benefits, debt and money advice, can receive this service from the Council’s Financial Inclusion Team or Cumbernauld CAB.

“Anyone in with money concerns should call the advice service on 01698 274690.”