‘Most vulnerable will lose out’ if Leeds CAB offices axed

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VOLUNTEERS from Pudsey’s under threat Citizens Advice Bureau have voiced fears that the most vulnerable people would suffer if up to four lifeline advice centres across Leeds are axed.

They have written a letter to Leeds MPs and councillors to raise concerns that proposals to close CAB offices as part of a shake-up of advice services across Leeds would have a negative impact.

The volunteers said in the letter: “We are concerned at the current reorganisation proposals which would involve closing at least three of the current four community bureaux – Pudsey, Otley, Crossgates and Morley – and replacing them by an almost totally phone-based diagnostic service, apart from some very-heavily used outreach services staffed only by paid staff and the remaining city centre office.”

The volunteers said many CAB clients would have problems accessing a phone-based advice service due to a range of issues including poverty, mental disabilities and language problems.

Citizens Advice Bureaux across the city are being re-organised in a bid to save cash.

Leeds City Council has said Leeds Advice Consortium, which was awarded a three year contract earlier this year to provide advice and support across the city, is reviewing services to see how they can be made more efficient.

The council’s initial budget proposals for the next financial year include a suggested 10 per cent cut to the consortium.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “We now face some very grim decisions about the services we provide and commission. We’ve tried as hard as possible to limit the impact on frontline services but whatever we do now is going to be very painful so it’s imperative that people give us their views as part of the consultation process.”

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