Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Changes to Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau

March 09 2011
Funding cut puts advice services at risk

Five of Birmingham's Citizen Advice Bureau offices were set to close on Friday 11 February after the council decided to end its funding of £600,000 per annum. However, as The Pavement went to press, Birmingham CAB confirmed that it remained hopeful and will be holding talks with councillors in the next few weeks to discuss a way forward.

Birmingham CAB has provided an outstanding service - free, independent, confidential and impartial advice - to local people since 1939, and 56,000 people have used the 'open door service' in the last year. A Birmingham City Council spokesperson acknowledged the benefits of legal entitlement advice services like CAB, but said that this funding was never intended to be indefinite. "We've always made it clear to agencies that funding was not guaranteed beyond any single year, up to a maximum of three years. It was never our intention for agencies to become dependent upon this source of funding, or that it form their sole source of income."

Despite the future of the service remaining uncertain, Yvonne Davies, Birmingham CAB's chief executive, explained that people can still make enquiries: "We are closing our 'information and advice' open-door service, but will still be able to assist people with benefits, debt or housing issues, as we still receive other funding, which allows us to continue with these services. We will also have a telephone helpline 08444771010 from 10am till 4pm every day, and will assist people to find doors to help them with their issues and concerns."