Council funding 'increasing important' to Otley CAB

Ilkley Gazette: There are concerns about the future of Otley Citizens' Advice Bureau. There are concerns about the future of Otley Citizens' Advice Bureau.

Local funding to support the work of Otley’s Citizens Advice Bureau is becoming “increasingly important” to the service’s survival.

That is the message Otley Town Council has received after writing to the charity to express its concerns about the local branch’s future.

Councillor Jim Spencer, chairing Monday’s executive and management committee meeting, said: “I was concerned there were reports that the CAB would be hacked, at the worst possible time for doing that.

“We annually give some support within Otley to the tune of a few thousand pounds so we wrote to CAB expressing our concern.”

Town Clerk Iain Plumtree said: “We got two replies, one from the chief executive of Leeds CAB and the other from the national CAB, and they both said they deeply appreciate the support we give each year which is in the order of £2,500.

“At the moment their own position is in flux vis-a-vis their funding in relation to Leeds City Council so the town council funding has become even more important to them, and that importance may increase in the years ahead.”

Coun Spencer added: “My understanding is that right at this moment they’re not under threat but they will keep us informed.”

In February the CAB’s chief executive, Gillian Guy, warned that the charity might have to make cuts of up to 45 per cent - and close some branches – following a reduction in the funding it is receiving from local authorities.

The legal, welfare and debt advice service currently receives most of its funding from councils, who have themselves been hit by hefty Government funding cuts.

Mr Plumtree told councillors that Otley’s CAB office, based at the Courthouse, helped more than 3,750 people in 2010.

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