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MPs step in to save debt advice service from axe

Malvern Editorial 7th Aug, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

THE UNCERTAIN future of the South Worcestershire Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) has been secured after Malvern’s MP has stepped in.

Harriett Baldwin along with Mid-Worcestershire MP Sir Peter Luff were both lobbied by CAB bosses after they were informed of proposed cuts in funding to debt support services.

Last month it emerged how hundreds of people in Malvern could be hit by the reduction after it was announced the South Worcestershire branch was set to receive £25,000 less a year – a 50 per cent drop – from the Government backed Money Advice Service (MAS) which planned to redistribute funds to areas which were considered to be higher in need.

The MAS, together with the national CAB office in London, had concluded there was less demand for debt services in the county.

It prompted Les Kinmond, chief executive of South Worcestershire CAB, to write to both MPs who in tum called on the Treasury department to investigate the matter.

Now the MAS has confirmed the changes have been reversed and the local CAB budgets to offer debt advice will be untouched.

Mrs Baldwin said: “I am grateful to Les for raising this issue and pleased that we were able to help the national bodies to re-visit the decision and see sense.

“London-based people often see rural areas with rose-tinted spectacles and assume that we don’t have people with serious problems like money worries or serious debt.

“The CAB performs a crucial service helping people to overcome these issues and both Sir Peter and I were quick to act to help lobby for a change of mind.

“The MAS was quick to see that this was an unfortunate oversight and reversed the decision in a matter of days.”

Mr Kinmond, who previously described the changes as a ‘serious blow’, said he was hugely grateful to the MPs for their help on what had become a worrying issue for the service.

“We very much appreciate the strong support we receive from our MPs and the speed with which they acted on our behalf in this instance,” he added.

“This funding is essential to the amount of help we can provide for people with money problems, since the demand is such that we cannot meet it just with our volunteer advisers without additional professional support.”

 

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