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Babergh and Mid Suffolk pledge combined £140,000 annual grant for Citizens Advice

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 January 2020

Citizens Advice counters like this one in Mildenhall offer a lifeline for people in need of support. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Citizens Advice counters like this one in Mildenhall offer a lifeline for people in need of support. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Two Suffolk councils have pledged five-figure grants to Citizens Advice for a further three years.

Independent cabinet member for communities at Babergh District Council, Derek Davis, described Citizens Advice as Independent cabinet member for communities at Babergh District Council, Derek Davis, described Citizens Advice as "amazing". Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils' cabinet's gave the green light to continue funding the Citizens Advice Bureaux in their respective districts for a further three years from April.

In Mid Suffolk, £86,700 a year has been confirmed, while Babergh has pledged £53,500 a year for the same period.

Councillor Derek Davis, Independent cabinet member for communities at Babergh said: "Our colleagues at Citizens Advice do amazing work to support Babergh's residents when they perhaps need it most, offering expert advice and guidance on money matters and much more.

"We hope that with this longer-term funding, they can continue to deliver a much-needed service, helping our communities to thrive and be more self-sufficient, while also playing a key role in achieving the aims in our communities strategy."

Mid Suffolk District Council cabinet member for housing and communities, Julie Flatman. Picture: MSDCMid Suffolk District Council cabinet member for housing and communities, Julie Flatman. Picture: MSDC

Julie Flatman, Conservative cabinet member for housing and communities at Mid Suffolk added: "Mid Suffolk Citizens Advice are a really important partner for us, often providing a lifeline to members of our community in genuine need of help - including offering advice on debt management and arrears.

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"We recognise their value in ensuring our district has a bright and healthy future, and hope this three-year agreement provides a more sustainable funding approach, in line with the aims in our communities strategy."

The continued funding has been backed by the councils' opposition groups, although the Mid Suffolk Greens had hoped the funding would be increased over those three years, rather than remaining static.

Mid Suffolk Green councillor Keith Welham said he hoped the funding could be on a rolling three-year basis. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMid Suffolk Green councillor Keith Welham said he hoped the funding could be on a rolling three-year basis. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Keith Welham from the Mid Suffolk Green group said: "The three-year funding agreement is welcomed.

"We hope that the agreement will be a rolling three-year funding arrangement which would take account of inflation and other cost pressures affecting delivery of the Citizens Advice service."

Each CAB is run as a separate charitable organisation, although a structural revamp in the west of the county means five offices there are now run by a single organisation.

Suffolk County Council's budget proposes a £120,000 grant each year for the next three years - a u-turn after announcing it would be axed last year but still below the £368,000 per year previously given.

A countywide task group is due to return its recommendations on future CAB funding imminently.

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