Post by nickd (Mylegal) on May 31, 2012 23:40:39 GMT
As reported in Newark advertiser...
Newark Citizens’ Advice Bureau is to close by the end of June with funding cuts being blamed. Advisers at Newark CAB on Bargate helped 2,123 people with more than 9,500 problems in the 2011-12 financial year.
Its volunteers have been seeing 50-60 clients per week this year compared with 30-50 last.
It is the first bureau in Nottinghamshire to close, but it is believed it may not be the last.
Mr David Rogerson, vice-chairman of Newark CAB, said: “This hits our society’s most vulnerable at a time when changes to Legal Aid will make it significantly harder for people on low incomes to access legal advice in the future.
“The bureau has experienced funding cuts that have made it unsustainable and the Trustee Board has appointed an insolvency practitioner to oversee the managed wind-down of the bureau.
“It is hugely ironic that a service that helps people through the recession is itself the victim of the cuts it is there to advise on surviving.”
Council funding to CABs has not been reduced since 2010 but the previous Government made money available to help them cope with the demand for advice created by the recession.
Newark received additional funding, but that has ended.
Council grants are given to the CAB Nottinghamshire, which then decides where it is to be allocated.
The county council’s funding for 2012-13 is £200,000, the same as 2011-12. The funding in 2009-10 was £300,000.
The effects of that cut are said to be finally biting.
Mr Martin Suthers, the council’s deputy leader, said: “We believe Citizens’ Advice Bureaux in the county are best placed to decide how their grant aid funding from the county council is divided to meet our joint priorities.
“While it is concerning to hear the Newark bureau is to close, we will be making every effort to make sure a citizens’ advice service continues in the town.”
The county councillor for Newark West, Mr Keith Girling, who gave £1,000 to Newark CAB in November 2010, said he was bitterly disappointed at the closure announcement
Mr Girling said: “It is not for the county council to determine how the funding is distributed.
“What we have said to everyone that we give money to is they need to look at the way they operate.
“That stance is right as it is public money.
“I don’t believe this is as a result of cuts. It is an unwillingness to change and the CAB need to take a look at themselves.”
The council says its funding to the CAB network has been confirmed for the next three years to give greater stability.
That means £200,000 a year for 2012-13 and 2013-14 but then £178,480 for 2014-15. The reduction is in line with all voluntary sector groups on a three-year grant-aid agreement.
Newark and Sherwood District Council gave £28,530 in 2010-11, and an inflationary-increased £29,100 in 2011-12 with the same budgeted for 2011-13.
The district council’s cabinet member for finance and property, Mr David Lloyd, said: “The council has been in discussion with National Citizens’ Advice about the continuing provision of an advice service in the Newark area.
“The council is keen to support the continuation of advice services in the district with a base in the Newark area.”
Newark Town Council and local parishes also contribute.