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Thousands sign petition to stop cuts to Suffolk Citizens Advice funding

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on a council to drop proposed funding cuts to Citizens Advice branches in Suffolk.

Suffolk County Council is consulting on plans to halve its grant to the charity to £184,000 in 2019/20 before axing it completely in 2020/21.

It is part of a proposed £11.2 million in savings outlined by the authority to balance its budget.

Citizens Advice.
Citizens Advice.

However, Citizens Advice says the move ‘would lead to a significantly reduced service for people in Suffolk’.

It has set up an online petition calling for the cuts to be stopped, which as of today (January 10) had been signed by 3,143 people.

Jane Ballard and Carol Eagles, managers of the Citizens Advice offices in West Suffolk and Mid Suffolk, 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.”

Jane Ballard, district manager at Citizens Advice Suffolk West and Carol Eagles, manager at Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk.
Jane Ballard, district manager at Citizens Advice Suffolk West and Carol Eagles, manager at Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk.

Cllr Richard Rout, the council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, encouraged residents to take part in the consultation, which runs until January 23, to share how they may be impacted by the plans.

He said: "Our local Citizens Advice consultation is the best way for residents to tell us how they currently use the CAB service.

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

"As part of this engagement process, I will be visiting and speaking to each of the Suffolk CAB."

Comments from the consultation will be used to help inform the final decision on the budget, which is due to be made by full council on February 14.

Visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/cabconsultation

For the petition, visit https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-cuts-to-citizens-advice-in-suffolk-1

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