Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Call to restore funding for advice service

Plaid Cymru councillors are urging Wrexham Council to reinstate long-term funding for a vital advice service in the borough ensuring sustainability for the organisation and the people of Wrexham.

The Citizens' Advice service recently received a £25,000 grant from the council for 2018-9, a cut from the £50,000 transition funding they requested to keep the service open. Citizens' Advice, prior to the council decision to cut funding, received more than £99,000 to enable support to be provided to the community. The current enquiry levels are in excess of21,000 a year, with maximised income into Wrexham through benefit applications running at over £3 million.

From 2000 to 2015 Citizens Advice received a grant from the Local Authority of just over £99,000 per year which enabled a full service to be delivered. The £25,000 will assist to keep the doors open, however restyling of the service delivery is being looked at with potential changes from September 2018.

Councillor Marc Jones, who leads Plaid Cymru group, said: 
"It's clear from meeting with management at the Citizens' Advice service that the important work they do in helping people with debt, welfare and benefits advice will be compromised by this cut.The full advice that can be provided by this organisation is from an up to date information system covering every subject possible. Sessions will be reduced and people in outlying areas will be unable to access the service locally. At a time when problems with personal debt, job insecurity, low pay and benefit changes are causing a lot of anxiety and problems, the county needs this service more than ever.
"The service has already cut its costs with staff not being replaced and people doing additional work for nothing. That's not a sustainable way to keep things going and there's a real risk that the entire service could collapse if funding isn't restored. That would be a disaster for the area with so many people reliant on the service.
"Citizens' Advice offers independent advice for the whole population and, while the council has its own Welfare Rights service, it does not cover the range of services offered by CAB. As such, the Citizens's Advice is good value for money and something the council should continue to support beyond this year."

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