The chief executive of Ashfield Citizens’ Advice Bureau says that the vital service could close if the district council cuts its funding.
Ashfield District Council currently funds the CAB to the tune of £52,000 a year to enable it to offer advice and support to residents who find themselves facing a range of serious problems.
But chief executive Sue Davis said that to cut that grant - as is being proposed as part of the council’s budget cuts - would put the existence of the CAB in jeopardy and could see it have to close.
Sue said: “This is a devastating blow for the bureau and a false economy for the council.
“For every £1 they give us, we raise £1,000 as a result of our debt and welfare benefits advice - this is then spent locally.
“Our work also saves the council costs by preventing homelessness, evictions and court cases - all of which will not be possible if we have to close.”
Ashfield District Council is proposing to stop providing grants to voluntary bodies and community groups as part of its efforts to set a balanced budget, saving £147,000 a year in total.
Sue is asking people to respond to the council’s survey and say no to the question asking if it should cut the CAB grant.
Sutton councillor Jason Zadrozny is also urging residents to fill in the survey.
He said that some of the proposed cuts are ‘really short-sighted’.
“They are mostly ludicrous and mostly unnecessary,” he said, adding that opposition councillors had this year not been briefed about the budget proposals as in previous years.
“When the council has such significant amounts in reserve, to make cuts to front line services which they are doing, really, really aggravates me.”
Coun Gail Turner, who represents Selston on the council, said she too was ‘furious’ that the council had given opposition councillors no information about the proposals and labelled the cuts to the CAB as ‘pernicious’.
She also said she was furious about the proposed cuts to the Community Protection team, especially as crime is going up and the rural Ashfield area has been denied CCTV cameras.
“I have an absolute objection to reducing the community safety budget because we are talking about reducing quality of life, especially for vulnerable people,” she said.
“I am so very worried about this.”
Chad readers on Facebook expressed their dismay about the cuts.
Jaydii Twelly said: “Why stop an Ashfield show event when some people have been going to it for years and enjoy it. And why close down Huthwaite Leisure Centre just for it to be turned into more houses.”
Sharyn Kelly said: “The best place to start is the suits taking a pay cut!”
Paul Curry said: “Give Kirkby a boost by building a swimming pool, McDonalds and incentives for high street named shops to come to Kirkby.”
Peter Arthur Waby said: “Cut the top lots wages for a start.”