Five Citizens Advice bureaux in Glasgow face closure

Five Citizens Advice bureaux in Glasgow face closure with the loss of 66 jobs because they are set to miss out on funding from the local council, Citizens Advice Scotland has warned.

Members of Glasgow City Council are due to vote today on funding proposals that would result in the Bridgeton, Castlemilk, Easterhouse, Parkhead and Glasgow Central bureaux receiving no further funding from the local authority.

The loss of funding would result in the likely closure of the five bureaux, with the loss of 66 jobs, CAS said.

It said the move would also result in a significantly increased workload for the three other Citizens Advice bureaux in the city: Drumchapel, Glasgow North West, and Pollok, which are also facing a drop in funding.

The council said it was changing the process by which it awarded funding to voluntary sector organisations in the city.

This meant more organisations could apply for funding, but also meant it had received applications totalling £135m for a £47m funding pot.

A council spokesman said there had been a degree of concern that many of the Citizens Advice services had not performed particularly well in the assessment process – but, equally, it would be difficult for council members to decide to defund organisations that made stronger applications.

None of the successful grant applicants will receive the full amount they applied for under the latest proposals, the spokesman said.

The council said it would make an additional £4m of transitional funding available for organisations that miss out, including those working in the advice sector.

CAS said the potential closures would affect more than 12,000 people, based on how many people the five bureaux helped last year.

Frank Mosson, manager of Bridgeton CAB, said: “These proposals from Glasgow City Council would cut three bureaux in the city and close down another five. The impact of that on the most vulnerable people in Glasgow would be simply horrifying.

“It beggars belief that funding for these bureaux would be removed in the middle of a global pandemic and as we approach the biggest recession in decades.

“It is absolutely heartbreaking that staff who should be helping others through the stormy waters of redundancy as a result of Covid-19 are currently facing redundancy themselves.”

Councillor Jennifer Layden said: “I am pleased that we have been able to identify £4m transitional funding for the advice sector, violence against women organisations, and communities of interest and equalities groups supporting many of those most severely impacted by the pandemic. We have also identified additional funding for arts organisations.

“The important work provided by these sectors has never been in question and I trust all political groupings on the council will support this proposal.”

The councillor said she and the council leader had held “constructive discussions” with the city’s advice sector and CAS over the past few days and it was “vital that we accelerate work to develop a sustainable future funding model for the sector which diversifies funding sources”.

She said the council would be seeking help from the Scottish Government on the matter.

An online petition urging the council to rethink the move has been signed by more than 7,500 people.

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