Citizens Advice Bureau in New Funding Cut Difficulties

Last year, Birmingham City Council cut its £600,000 funding to Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), which handles around 120,000 enquiries each year on a wide range of issues including employment, debt, benefits and immigration problems.

For many people, especially those experiencing financial problems as a result of the financial crash, recession and now austerity measures, CAB provide a lifeline with independent advisers ready to help people to sort out their problems in a way which is right for them rather than the banks or energy companies they owe money to.

The outcry over the potential closure of all offices, saw central government step in with £500,000 whilst Birmingham City Council agreed to a meagre £50,000 of funds to allow the CAB to continue its services.
Even so, the CAB made 6 staff redundant, and closed its office in Handsworth, which has the highest level of unemployment in the UK. Now again the whole service is under threat. Financial Inclusion Manager Flo Betts said:

Because of this fresh funding crisis our services are going to significantly reduce.

We will have to reduce our opening hours and we will no longer be in a position to help advise people who come in with all manner of problems from consumer issues, housing problems, employment issues, adoption queries to boundary disputes.

We feel like the charity is living on a knife edge at the moment.

Ultimately it will take just one more cut in funding for us to have to close our offices altogether.

CAB have launched an appeal to the public to try to raise £8,000 a month to keep their service running. We call on the council to set a needs based budget for 2012/13, and to restore the funding CAB needs to continue it services which are all the more vital in times of economic difficulty.
Join us on Tuesday 7th, from 5pm, to lobby the council at its full meeting.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, Events

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