Suffolk County Council has told Citizens Advice charities operating across the county that it is proposing to halve and then withdraw its funding support. The full council will vote in February on the proposal. Suffolk County Council funding was worth £375,000 to Citizens Advice across Suffolk during 2017/18.
Citizens Advice is already a cost-effective service. Last year, the work done in Suffolk by our 425 volunteers was officially valued at more than £2.4 million. In 2017/18 they helped people write off £7.8 million in debt. National research shows that for every £1 invested in Citizens Advice in Suffolk we generated at least £3.52 in savings to government and public services and £20.84 in wider economic and social benefits.
What would this mean?
This would lead to a significantly reduced service for people in Suffolk. The number of staff and volunteers available to give advice would have to be drastically reduced. The volunteer advisers provide quality assured advice on a wide range of issues such as debt, disability benefits, housing, employment and relationships.
In a joint statement, the Chief Officers of Citizens Advice in Suffolk said: "We are local charities and we rely on local support. The funding we receive from Suffolk County Council enables us to make a real difference in the lives of people across the county and we are very grateful for that. Our top priority is always the people who need us. The number of people we see continues to grow and our dedicated team of staff and volunteers is committed to serving them. If agreed, these cuts would be a significant reduction in our budgets and will lead to difficult choices. We will work closely with our partners, staff and volunteers to make the best decisions we can in the circumstances."