Thirty jobs at risk at Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau

Cuts of more than £1m force advice charity to launch consultation on redundancies, and 12 more posts might disappear at three satellite offices

Thirty jobs at Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau are at risk because it stands to lose funding worth more than £1m.

From 31 March, the charity will lose the £650,000 it receives to provide legal aid, which comes mainly from the Legal Services Commission, and the £400,000 it gets from Birmingham Primary Care Trusts to provide outreach advice for people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

Yvonne Davies, chief executive at the CAB, said the charity, which has 80 staff and about 300 volunteers, will soon launch a consultation on making 30 posts redundant.

A further 12 jobs could be at risk in the charity’s three satellite bureaux, which provide open-door advice services in Kingstanding, Northfield and Tyseley, because of an expected £120,000 funding shortfall. The charity has its headquarters in the city centre.

Davies said the worst-case scenario, if the charity did not find extra funding for the next financial year, would be to provide a "skeleton service" from one of its centres. "It’s grim," Davies said. "The demand for our advice is bigger than ever."

The CAB’s services have been at risk before. In 2011, it was set to lose all of its £600,000 funding from Birmingham City Council. The charity was eventually forced to close one of its centres and make six posts redundant after the funding was reduced to £260,000, Davies said.  

In 2011/12, the charity had an income of £2.8m and spent £2.6m. According to its annual report, the surplus of £197,705 was being used to subsidise the open-door service for 2012/13 until other sources of funding could be found.

"We are appealing to the people of Birmingham to make us their charity of choice," said Davies. "Not enough people know that we depend on donations."

The charity has applied to grant-making trusts, foundations and local businesses for funding.

A Birmingham City Council spokeswoman said the council was in discussions about the continuing funding problems at the CAB. "The council is facing significant financial pressures as a result of national budget reductions," she said. "In 2013/14 alone the council needs to find more than £110m in cuts, and by 2016/17 this figure will total over £625m.

"Despite the severity of the challenge facing the council, we are committed to working with the third sector and acknowledge the important role it plays in the city. We also continue to work with the CAB in delivery of advice services in Birmingham. We are determined to continue to safeguard the most vulnerable in our society and ensure fairness in decision-making."

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