Ipswich Citizens Advice could be forced to make staff cuts as demand for its services continue to surge. 

The organisation - which is on the front line of the ongoing cost of living crisis - has said it is being left to "juggle" its problems as funding fails to match "what is happening in the real world".

Nicky Willshere, chief executive of Ipswich Citizens Advice, said the government's decision to raise the national living wage by 9.7% on April 1 could result in cutbacks for vital organisations.

Ipswich Star: Nicky Willshere, chief executive of Ipswich Citizens AdviceNicky Willshere, chief executive of Ipswich Citizens Advice (Image: Dolly Carter, Newsquest)

"We have no idea where that money is going to come from," she said. 

"We are a charity but we're also an employer so it's not optional.

"Our core funding isn't going to go up so there is no correlation with what is happening in the real world.

"The only solution is to increase funding, or we will have to reduce outgoings somehow - potentially reducing our staff. 

"But at the moment we're seeing more demand, not just because of the cost of living crisis, but also because of the aftermath of Covid."

Ipswich Star: The organisation is facing potential staff cuts and rising outgoings in the midst of surging demandThe organisation is facing potential staff cuts and rising outgoings in the midst of surging demand (Image: PA)

Despite this alarming rise, core funding for the organisation has been reduced year on year.

Funding from Ipswich Borough Council has remained static, outgoings have continued to rise.

Suffolk County Council halved funding in its 2019/2020 budget to £187,000 but made an agreement with the then Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure CABs did not see a difference in funding.

In its budget proposal for 2023/24, the council is proposing to allocate a further £45,000 for the CAB.

"Our energy contract is set to expire soon so I'm going to have to renew our deal - which I'm not looking forward to," said Nicky.

"With the rise in the price of energy, I'm expecting our outgoings to go up significantly."

Ipswich Star: Ipswich Citizens Advice in Tower StreetIpswich Citizens Advice in Tower Street (Image: Dolly Carter, Newsquest)

In the midst of a cost of living crisis - which is expected to worsen in April as energy bills look set to rise again - bureaus are now being forced make difficult decisions.

"We don't have time to think about the outlook," Nicky concluded.

"We will do what we need to do and we will continue to see and help people.

"But we're either essential or we're not.

"And, like all charities at the moment, we are having to juggle all of these problems while also trying to get on with our jobs."