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Leatherhead and Dorking CAB facing £14,000 funding cut

By Dorking Advertiser  |  Posted: November 27, 2012

  • Anne Haigh, manager of Dorking and Leatherhead Citizens' Advice Bureau, which is facing a funding cut

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A CHARITY which offers advice about employment and debt management is facing a ten per cent funding cut.

Leatherhead and Dorking Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) will lose £14,000 in council cash in the next financial year, which starts in April.

Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) says no decisions have yet been made about funding voluntary organisations, but the CAB has been asked to make savings and has agreed to apply for a smaller grant for 2013/14.

Lib Dem councillor Stephen Cooksey said: "This is a damning indictment of the way that the independent and Conservative executive runs the council, and a massively inefficient way to use taxpayers' money.

"There could not be a worse time to implement this cut because the new welfare benefits legislation and the increasing need for debt counselling will make those services more and more essential in the coming months and years."

The charity has applied for a grant of £125,000 for next year, down from £139,000.

Mr Cooksey said: "This reduces significantly the ability of the CAB to provide an essential service to the very people who most need it at their time of greatest need. It will also bring the council under much greater pressure to itself provide advice that can much more effectively be provided by the CAB."

CAB manager Anne Haigh said the charity will be forced to reduce its opening hours and cut the hours of paid staff. She said: "Ten per cent is a lot of money in our case but it is the harsh reality of the economic situation.

"It is not something staff want to hear in the current circumstances but it is a way of keeping all services going without making redundancies."

An MVDC spokesman said: "In September this year MVDC asked the CAB to conduct a fair and balanced assessment of how money could be saved with minimum impact on service delivery.

"As a result the CAB has applied for a grant of £125,500 for 2013/14. They have made it clear that this will ultimately mean a reduction in opening times.

"The council is engaged in positive discussions with the CAB to ensure that we move forward constructively and explore a range of options."

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