Citizens Advice in Haverhill is among the branches that will see its Suffolk County Council grant removed in 2019 instead of 2018 after a rethink
A partial reprieve has been given to Suffolk’s Citizens Advice branches which had faced losing all of its county council grant in a few months.
The council planned to save £368,000 by axing grants to the county’s branches - including the one in Haverhill - next year.
It was part of a slew of proposed cuts to help shave £22 million in the next financial year to balance the authority’s budget.
However, following a scrutiny meeting and appeals from Citizens Advice bosses, the authority has decided to phase the cuts so the charity will receive £184,000 in 2019/2020 but the funding will end the following year.
Jane Ballard, manager at Suffolk West Citizens Advice branches, which includes Haverhill, stood to lose £73,000 of core funding after next April as a result of the cuts, but that loss will now be delayed.
She said they were ‘pleased that Suffolk County Council recognised the problems caused to the most vulnerable in Suffolk from its proposed complete cut in funding’ but concerns remain about the future.
“Although it’s a great relief to hear that the council is no longer planning a complete withdrawal of funding in 2019/20, we remain concerned the council intends to cut our funding by 100 per cent over the next two years.
“We already work hard to raise funds from a diverse range of sources and we believe it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to fill this gap in funding for our core services from elsewhere.
“Our priority is those who need us, and we will work closely with the county council to support vulnerable residents.”
They noted that Richard Rout, cabinet member for environment and public protection, ‘has been concerned to understand how this change will affect the charities’ work, and his visits to Citizens Advice offices are appreciated.’
“We look forward to working with him and his team in the coming months to secure this vital service to the communities in Suffolk,” they added.
Cllr Rout said: “I can confirm that we are now proposing a period of phased grant reduction to alleviate concerns and to help Suffolk’s Citizens Advice to plan ahead and establish new revenue options to ensure they find suitable funding for years to come.”