FEARS have been raised that three lifeline free advice centres in Leeds could be axed.
Volunteers at Otley’s CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) office are campaigning to save their centre amid claims it is under threat along with two other CAB offices in Pudsey and Morley.
Citizens Advice Bureaux across the city are being re-organised in a bid to save cash.
And Leeds City Council is proposing to cut community advice funding by 10 per cent, equivalent to £130,000 a year.
Teresa Loudon, 58 of Bramhope, has worked as a volunteer at Otley CAB for six years. She claimed Leeds CAB plan to close CAB offices in Otley, Pudsey and Morley as part of a re-organisation.
Mrs Loudon said the plans would mean face-to-face advice services would no longer be available for people in the north and west of Leeds, adding: “We are concerned the reorganised advice service will be looking towards increasing telephone information services. People facing complex problems with debt, benefits and employment can currently discuss problems confidentially with trained advisers no matter where they live.”
A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “Leeds Advice Consortium were awarded a three year contract earlier in 2014 to provide advice and support across the city. Recognising the demands for advice across the whole of the city the contract requires the consortium to review their services to see how more advice could be provided whilst also delivering efficiencies.” The spokeswoman added: “Initial budget proposals include a suggested 10 per cent cut to the consortium.”
Tina Turnbull, chair of Leeds CAB’s trustee board, said Leeds CAB is working with Chapeltown CAB and Better Leeds to improve advice services, adding: “We can’t make decisions until we find out what the funding settlement will be.”