Citizens Advice in bid to save Hull bureau

David Harker, chief executive of Citizens Advice, will meet Kim Ryley, chief executive of Hull City Council, to try to persuade him to continue funding the charity's bureau in the city.

About 55 staff at Hull Citizens Advice Bureau face uncertain futures after the council decided not to renew its £650,000 funding and the Legal Services Commission, which administers legal aid, withdrew its £47,000 funding.

The LSC's decision was part of a new system of legal aid funding. It is establishing community legal advice centres nationwide through which all legal aid funding from central and local government will be distributed. Private company A4e won the contract to run Hull CLAC and the LSC will stop its funding to the Hull CAB.

Hull is one of the first 14 areas to adopt a new model of funding by 2010; the rest of England and Wales will follow.

The loss of money from both the LSC and the council means the Hull bureau, which has existed since 1939, is likely to offer a greatly reduced service and could even close.

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition in support of the bureau. Harker hopes to keep up the pressure when he meets Ryley on 1 September.

A spokeswoman for Citizens Advice said it hoped the meeting would "lead to some continued funding for the bureau so we can maintain an albeit reduced service in Hull".

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