Rover helpline to appeal for funds

Francois Le Goff

The Citizens Advice branch in Birmingham has warned that it will not be able to sustain its new helpline for Longbridge Rover workers beyond May because it is working above capacity.

The charity launched an emergency phone line last week to ensure that people affected by the closure of the car plant have access to free and independent financial advice. But it says that the 30 advisers staffing the line cannot meet demand.

"We couldn't deal with debt advice demand before, so there is no way we can absorb this," said Chris Cox, chief executive of the Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau. "I told staff that I couldn't pay them overtime.

This operation depends entirely on goodwill."

Citizens Advice is seeking funds from the regional government office and local authorities to provide advice services because it expects the crisis to affect the region in the long-term. Calls from former Rover workers will be directed to the charity's main helpline after the emergency line closes.

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