Help promise after meeting is delayed

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Plans to offer a bailout package for Mansfield’s credit union and Citizens Advice Bureau have been further delayed after a public meeting was called off in the eleventh hour.

Coun Roger Sutcliffe was scheduled to sign off a rescue package for the town’s branch of the Nottingham Credit Union at a public meeting on Friday.

But minutes before the meeting was due to start, a council officer arrived to explain that the meeting had been cancelled and the cabinet member for resources was instead travelling to Norwich.

Coun Sutcliffe had decided to delay the meeting until October 14th, after he discovered that the CAB had been awarded cash from the National Lottery - reported in the Chad a month ago.

It is the latest delay in the saga, after the authority pledged £45,000 to the credit union and CAB in January.

Members agreed that the cash would be deducted from the £91,094 allocated to cabinet members for expenses during the 2013-14 financial year.

The money was set aside as part of a council bid to support ethical lenders in Mansfield, and fight the booming growth in legal loan sharks.

But politicians have accused Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton of trying to scupper the deal by delaying the payment.

Responsibility for the bailout has now been passed from Mayor Egginton to Coun Sutcliffe, and the authority is proposing assistance for both organisations which falls short of the pledged cash.

Labour group deputy leader Coun Sonya Ward, who attended the meeting, said: “This meeting has already been cancelled once this week and now we have to wait until October 14th for it to happen. “

Campaigner Rev Keith Hebden, who is also fighting to save the credit union added: “This is the fourth time now that they have deferred this action and I really don’t think that the people of Mansfield will stand for this much longer.”

Speaking to the Chad this week, Coun Sutcliffe said he has been forced to delay the meeting while he received advice from council staff on the Lotto cash awards.

He confirmed that a help package will be formalised for both the credit union and CAB on October 12th.

“We are going to support them but not with a direct financial contribution,” he said.

“The credit union and the council both feel that what is now on the table will be more advantageous as it will offer a more long-term solution.”