Somerset County Council Grant Cuts

Press Release: Local Citizens Advice offices in Somerset County call for rethink on funding cuts

 Citizens Advice in Somerset are calling on Somerset County Council not to go ahead with a proposal to cut all of the funding it provides to them.

The 5 Citizens Advice in Somerset are all independent charities, based in Sedgemoor, Mendip, South Somerset, West Somerset and Taunton.

Funding from the Council is used to run the charities’ day-to-day advice services.

The charities are warning that, should the cuts go ahead, they would need to look at significantly reducing the services currently offered.  They estimate that almost 6,000 people facing evictions, bailiffs actions, unfair dismissals and benefit delays will no longer have access to their advice and support services as a result.  This number includes some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and there are now few other services for them to turn to.

Last year they helped almost 23,000 people with a range of issues, including benefits, debt and housing.  Using a Treasury model, the 5 charities calculate that the overall public value of their service is almost £30m.

The County Council will make a final decision on funding for Citizens Advice in Somerset on Wednesday 12 September.  You can support the charities by signing a petition by clicking this link: support Citizens Advice in Somerset or complete online on your local Citizens Advice website or  www.westsomersetadvice.org.uk

Lyn Goodfellow, Chair of Citizens Advice Sedgemoor (on behalf of 5 Citizens Advice), said:

“We understand Somerset County Council are in a difficult position and they need to make some tough decisions. We appreciate the support they’ve shown us over the years, which has allowed us to help tens of thousands of people.

“However, we would urge them to rethink their proposal to cut funding. We offer a vital service that’s also value for money as we stop people’s problems from getting worse, which eases demand on other local providers.

“Our immediate priority is to work together to minimise disruption to the service should these proposed cuts take place, particularly for vulnerable clients. For now though, we remain open for the people of Somerset County.”

 

Message from Chair (elect) of West Somerset Advice

We did not expect this gut wrenching blow:

We have started an online petition please forward to all your contacts. Support your Advice Centre to fight the cuts.

This what it means…..

ASC-03 Reduction in funding for Citizens Advice services (Core Funding, Local Assistance Scheme)

For each district’s Citizen’s Advice services:

End Adult Social Care Core Grant and Local Assistance Scheme Administration Grant and Assessment Fee

This will consist of:

  • Removing 50% (£25k) from the Local Assistance Scheme budget for Assessment Fees from October 2018/19.
  • Remove all other funds from April 2019:

o          100% (£252k) of Adult Social Care Core Grant

o          100% (£167k) of Local Assistance Scheme Administration Grant

o          Remaining 50% (£25k) of Local Assistance Scheme Assessment Fee

Reduce funding for Local Assistance Scheme purchases by 10% (saving of £12k per year) – this funding is supporting by contingencies and is therefore not part of the net change to service budget

Adult Social Care Core Grant – Citizens Advice in Somerset & West Somerset Advice – 2017/18

Unique clients helped 22,953

Advice issues 78,800

Benefit income generated       £7,195,873

Value of debts managed         £5,596,349

Local Assistance Scheme Administration Grant and Assessment Fee – Citizens Advice in Somerset & West Somerset Advice – 2017/18

Number of applications processed      2,030

Income and Impact – Citizens Advice in Somerset & West Somerset Advice

Combined income for 2017/18           £1,943,669

Average % reduction in income based on 2018/19 budgets   25%

Public Value – Citizens Advice in Somerset

Value of volunteering in 2017/18       £1,256,444

Public value generated in 2017/18 (including the value of volunteering)      £30m

Potential reduction in public value based on 25% cut to income       -£7.5m

This is why I ask you to join the campaign. It explains why what we do is essential, for the most needy, and why we are effective

and ‘value for money’!!!!

‘That you do for the least of these, you do for Me’

Thank you

Rollo Clifford