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Stop cuts to Citizens Advice

by adamboyden on 3 December, 2018

Somerset County Council recently announced cuts to funding for Citizens Advice in Somerset (see here). For Mendip Citizens Advice this amounts to £98,000, a 21% total cut to funding. Mendip Citizens Advice gives vital and cost-effective support to over 4000 residents a year on a huge range of issues (see here).

Sizeable funding cuts to services will be counter-productive, mean less people get help with debt, housing, Universal Credit and other benefits, employment, legal, family and other problems, and increase the demand for Council statutory services. Unless funding can be found elsewhere, or costs reduced, this will lead to a reduction in offices, opening hours, and staff (essential paid advisors, supervisors, and volunteers), meaning less people will get vital help.

I immediately raised concerns about the implications at Frome Town and Mendip District Council. In Frome I asked for a special extraordinary three tier meeting about the cuts, where we discussed potential priorities for further research, including Citizens Advice funding and Getset.

At Mendip I proposed a motion to require Council to look into how how it could mitigate the impacts of the County’s cuts to social support services, including to support Citizens Advice funding and Getset (see here). The ruling Conservative group refused the motion for political reasons. However, I understand that both Frome Town and Mendip District Councils are now in discussions with MCA and are considering how they can help reduce the cuts to Citizens Advice funding. I will keep lobbying until a solution is found.

Update after Mendip full Council meeting 17th December

Mendip District Council’s Conservative leader Harvey Siggs informed us at Full Council that he would be making a decision as Cabinet member (and leader) to increase funding for Mendip Citizens Advice over 18 months to mitigate the County Council’s cuts from April 2019. He would not give a figure as negotiations were continuing with Citizens Advice and other district councils, but I expect the funding to be significant. I understand Frome Town Council and a few other large parishes are also considering funding increases. This is good news if it leads to the vital service being maintained at a time it is being used more than ever. This has been confirmed in writing by Mendip here.

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  1. […] to help. Mendip recently agreed to increase their current funding by £28k over 18 months (see here), but there has been no additional help from Frome Town Council (who have granted £6000 a year for […]

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