Citizen Advice cuts harm Suffolk residents

Statement by Cllr Sarah Adams Leader of the Labour Group

Conservatives on Suffolk County Council are currently putting together the final 2018/19 budget and about to rubber stamp over £20m of cuts to public services. Some of these savings are quite sensible, or understandable. But some of them are punitive, short-sighted and just downright wrong.

We understand the budget limitations and accept that we have to balance the books. But the salami slicing of services that the County Council seem to believe in is unsustainable for the long term. The Labour Group believe in invest to save. Spending money today to help offset the potential short fall in funding that a Conservative government will bring for tomorrow.

In a budget cutting exercise there is always one cut that looks so wrong, so out of place that they jump out at you. One of those is the cut to Citizens Advice. The cut is £20,000. The council’s own report suggesting that we should cut this grant says, ‘the return on investment for Citizens Advice is high and the service prevents demand reaching the County Council through its recognised contribution to mental health and wellbeing.’ Make no mistake the cut to Citizens Advice will cost this county money.

Why would you cut something by £20k that has a massive return on investment and saves you money?

At the same time the council are proposing to put £1m of council tax income from the same budget into reserve, surely it does not take a great leap to say, why don’t we put £980,000 into reserves instead?

I hope that when the budget papers are released on Monday this cut has been removed and the incredible work the Citizens Advice does on behalf of Suffolk can continue unaffected.

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