Birmingham’s Citizens Advice Bureau loses more funding

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Birmingham’s Citizens Advice Bureau loses more funding

Birmingham’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is at risk of losing 30 jobs later this year due to a lack of funding from supporting charities and sponsors.

The charity is well known for working with people across Birmingham and providing them with free legal advice and assistance.

This includes advice for any problems or issues they may be faced with, as well as offering suggestions to improve the ‘policies and practices that affect people’s lives’.

The Bureau also provides ‘free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities’.

Currently, the charity employs 80 staff and 300 volunteers across four offices in the Birmingham area.

It is set to lose £1 million worth of funding from various organisations during 2013. Of this, £650,000 that is primarily used for legal advice, will be withdrawn from the Legal Services Commission.

In addition, £400,000, which is spent on assistance towards people suffering from long-term illness and disability, will also be cut by Birmingham’s Primary Care Trusts.

With these cutbacks and job losses, it is assumed that two out of the four offices will face closure.

Chief Executive of CAB, Yvonne Davies, said, “We’re running four bureaus at a loss and have reserves we can dip into for the short-term but we have to find new forms of funding or face closures and job cuts.”

This is the second round of cutbacks the charity has had to face. Last October, the charity was forced to let go 6 people after the Birmingham City Council reduced its funding from £600,000 to only £260,000.

Since then, the Council has been working with the charity to source possible solutions to their funding problems.

A spokesperson for the Council said, “The council is facing significant financial pressures as a result of national budget reductions.”

“Despite the severity of the challenge facing the council, we are committed to working with the third sector and acknowledge the important role it plays in the city.

“We also continue to work with the CAB in delivery of advice services in Birmingham.

“We are determined to continue to safeguard the most vulnerable in our society and ensure fairness in decision-making,” she added.

Davies added that the Birmingham branches were reliant on the public’s generosity and support to avoid future closures.

“We are appealing to the people of Birmingham to make us their charity of choice,” she said.

“Not enough people realise we are a charity. If I can persuade 10,000 people in Birmingham to donate £10 a month then we don’t have a problem any more,” she added.

Over the past year, the charity managed to raise £20,000, as well as receiving a £45,000 grant from the Henry Smith Trust.

Davies however, remained insistent that more needed to be done to ensure the charity’s survival.

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