Post by Colin Henderson on Oct 19, 2011 22:26:57 GMT
Local press report a huge cut in this year's funding with worse to follow. After months of uncertainty the CAB outlets will carry on for now but the future for advice provision remains unclear:
"Plans to cut funding for Rochdale's Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) have been approved, but at a rate that means the service can continue.Rochdale council cabinet agreed to cut around £400,000 from its overall advice service budget. This will see cuts to the council's in house advice team, as well as grants it gives to external advice agencies like the CAB.
Councillors agreed to the savings proposals last Thursday evening, although they did reduce the proposed £40,000 funding reduction for the CAB to £24,000 for the remainder of the financial year.
CAB area manager Andrew Kay said the smaller funding cut should mean they can continue to provide the same level of service they currently do. He said: "When the £40,000 funding cut was first proposed it looked like we would have had to reduce hours, cut back outreach services and close an office in Middleton.
"But with the smaller funding cut, along with two employees volunteering to work reduced hours, we should just about be able to continue providing the level of service we do until April next year. The budget is very tight but as long as we don't have any unexpected bills we should just about be able to get through to April without service users being affected."
He added that the CAB's office on Drake Street would continue to open four days a week, while most outreach sessions would continue, although they would be reduced from four to three in Heywood. A second CAB office in Middleton will also stay open until next April.
Although services offered by the CAB look likely to continue as they are for another six months, Rochdale council has proposed to cut another £270,000 from the wider advice services budget in its latest services plans.
Under the proposals, which are currently out for consultation, advice services currently provided by the council, CAB and Rochdale Law Centre would be combined into a single service.
Mr Kay added that he was due to meet council officers to discuss the next round of savings proposals, including plans to introduce eligibility criteria to those needing advice, over the next few months."