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Cuts and closures to Citizens Advice would be 'a devastating blow' to Glasgow

Reported proposals to cut funding for Citizens Advice Bureaux in Glasgow have been branded a ‘devastating blow’ for the city.

The potential cuts from Glasgow City Council, reported in the Glasgow Times this morning, will close a number of bureaux across the city, including: 

-          Glasgow Central CAB

-          Bridgeton CAB

-          Easterhouse CAB

-          Parkhead CAB

-          Castlemilk CAB

The funding proposals may also see the other CABs in the city facing cuts; Glasgow North West, Drumchapel, and Pollok. 

These cuts would take effect on 1 October, as the city faces a looming employment crisis with the furlough scheme set to end by the end of October.

Citizens Advice Bureaux offer free, confidential impartial advice to people on a range of issues. Last year the Citizens Advice network in Scotland unlocked £130million in gains for people with top issues being social security, debt, employment and housing.

In Glasgow, every £1 of funding for core advice services enables £13.98 of gains for clients.

The network has existed for more than 80 years across the UK with the first CAB in Scotland opening in Glasgow Central in 1939.

During the Covid-19 pandemic bureaux have continued to provide advice remotely, helping thousands of people struggling with the uncertainty and anxiety of lockdown.

Citizens Advice Scotland Chair Rory Mair CBE said:

“Citizens Advice Bureaux have always provided essential work and never more so than under the current circumstances. They are here for everyone but often help the most vulnerable people in our communities, helping them realise their rights and access money they are entitled to.

“Proposals to cut funding for bureaux in Glasgow which would lead to closures would be a devastating blow for the city. They are a vehicle for social justice in the city and the work they do helping people prevents larger problems down the line.

“These cuts are short-sighted and will seriously damage the prospects of people in the city just as we enter a period of huge economic uncertainty.

“Local bureaux have sought to engage with the council through this process and have been met with silence. The process here once again seems to have put an algorithm above the needs of real people.

“The reality is cutting our services will just increase the pressure on council services, and vulnerable people will fall through the net.

“We understand that these proposals have not yet been seen by councillors, so we are pleading with Glasgow City Councillors to see sense and not implement these proposed cuts. The long term damage they would do would be simply devastating for the poorest people in our communities.”