Stay of execution for grant to Suffolk's CABx angers Labour leader
PUBLISHED: 19:30 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:54 29 November 2018
Suffolk County Council has confirmed that it is making a u-turn on cutting all funding to Citizens' Advice Bureaux - for the time being.
However the opposition Labour group said the service would still be seriously damaged by cuts over the next two years.
The council’s scrutiny committee was told last week that the authority might reducing its funding over a period of years rather than cutting it all at once – now it has been confirmed that will happen and that the council will try to help CABx find new income streams over a period of years.
Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “The meeting was very productive. It was important to capture the views of elected members and also hear directly from members of the public who attended the meeting.
“I particularly welcomed the views of Janet John from North East Suffolk CAB and Mel Jones from Diss & Thetford CAB, who I had both previously met when I spoke to representatives from all Suffolk CABs ahead of the committee.
“I can confirm that we are now proposing a period of phased grant reduction to alleviate concerns and to help Suffolk’s CABx to plan ahead and establish new revenue options to ensure they find suitable funding for years to come.
“This means they will get a grant of £184,000 in 2019/2020. The grant will then end in 2020/2021.
“We are proposing this approach as we recognise the financial impact that a full reduction in grants would have next year.”
Labour Group leader Sarah Adams hit out at the decision: “We are appalled that the decision to stagger the savage cuts to the CABx, is being hailed as listening.
“The plan to cut CAB funding is flawed and ideologically driven. Anyone who cares to stop and think for just a minute can see that any cut to the CAB services is not based on evidence of what works, or any sound financial planning.
“Cutting the CABx will increase demand on County Council services for the future and when they are at their most expensive.
“The CABx presented to the Scrutiny Committee last week a raft of sound reasons why their grant should not be cut, but the Tories have decided to wield the axe anyway.”