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Citizens Advice urge more people to sign and share petition opposing cuts

PUBLISHED: 10:56 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:56 11 January 2019

Carol Eagles at Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk. Picture: CITIZENS ADVICE MID SUFFOLK

Carol Eagles at Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk. Picture: CITIZENS ADVICE MID SUFFOLK

Archant

Managers at Citizens Advice in Suffolk say they are "very grateful" to all those who have signed a petition opposing proposed council cuts.

Suffolk County Council are asking for the opinions of the public regarding cuts to Citizens Advice services Picture: ARCHANTSuffolk County Council are asking for the opinions of the public regarding cuts to Citizens Advice services Picture: ARCHANT

Plans to reduce funding for CAB facilities in the county by half to £184,000 in 2019 before completely withdrawing payments in 2020 were revealed by Suffolk County Council in November.

Citizens Advice says this would lead to a significantly reduced service for people in Suffolk – and the number of staff and volunteers would have to be drastically reduced.

An online consultation was launched in December and is open until January 23.

A petition opposing the cuts has already received more than 3,000 signatures.

Citizens Advice is urging more people to sign and share a petitionCitizens Advice is urging more people to sign and share a petition

MORE: Citizens Advice ‘dismayed’ by county council proposals to cut funding

Jane Ballard and Carol Eagles, managers of Citizens Advice in West Suffolk and Mid Suffolk, have called on more people to sign and share the petition.

In a joint statement, they said: “We are very grateful to all the members of the public who have signed our ongoing petition to the council.

“It’s encouraging for our volunteers and staff to know that we are such a valued service to so many people. People who have signed the petition say that they came to us at vulnerable times in their lives when they had nowhere else to turn.

“We are appealing to people in West Suffolk and Mid Suffolk to sign and share the petition.

“Together, we can ask the county council to think again so that Citizens Advice can continue to provide help and advice for the thousands of people who come to us every month struggling with issues such as benefits claims, debt, housing, employment issues and discrimination.”

MORE: Could cuts to £368,000 Citizens Advice Bureau grant be phased over time?

In a letter opposing the cuts, John Ashton, chairman of trustees at Sudbury and District Citizens Advice, said: “Citizens Advice is already a cost-effective service.

“Last year, the work done in Suffolk by our 425 volunteers was officially valued at more than £2.4 million.

“In 2017/18 they helped people write off £7.8 million in debt.

“National research shows that for every £1 invested in Citizens Advice in Suffolk we generated at least £3.52 in savings to government and public services and £20.84 in wider economic and social benefits.”

Richard Rout, cabinet member for environment and public protection at Suffolk County Council, said: “The consultation will give residents the opportunity to tell us how they currently use the CAB service.

“We want to hear how they may be impacted, specifically from an equality perspective, by any potential changes to funding.”

The funding cuts are part of plans for Suffolk County Council to save £11.2 million as outlined in the authority’s 2019-20 budget proposals.

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