Citizens Advice Bureau cash crisis

IPSWICH Citizens Advice Bureau are set to announce it is facing a £20,000 debt and unless it can secure funding soon, services will have to be cut.It is thought the news will be announced officially at the annual meeting of the bureau on July 3.

IPSWICH Citizens Advice Bureau are set to announce it is facing a £20,000 debt and unless it can secure funding soon, services will have to be cut.

It is thought the news will be announced officially at the annual meeting of the bureau on July 3.

Ian Burnett, CAB manager, said: "The situation has developed over a number of years because income has not kept pace with expenditure.

"The Bureau has been able to maintain the level of service so far by judicial use of reserves and good housekeeping.

"However these reserves have now been depleted to the extent that the Trustees have to consider cuts in service to avoid insolvency".

The Trustees have put in place measures to try to redress the balance.

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They are already in discussion with Ipswich Borough, Suffolk County, Suffolk Coastal, Babergh and Mid-Suffolk Councils – which grant aid to the bureau.

They have also begun approaching local businesses in the hope that they can offer financial support.

A new fundraising programme to increase contributions from the public is also being developed.

If cuts have to be made they are likely to be in one of the specialist services offered by the bureau, namely Money Advice (Debt Counselling).

This would be extremely unfortunate in the current climate where there is a growing and ever more complex demand and even the government is acknowledging the increasing need for such a service.

Mr Burnett said: "We are appealing to the community to help us to help those needing information, advice and representation by supporting the bureau financially."

Anyone who wishes to find out more about the work of the bureau can attend the annual meeting on July 13, at 19 Tower Street, Ipswich.

n It costs about £4.40 to deal with an average enquiry and last year Ipswich CAB dealt with 34,575 enquiries.

n It costs about £10.07 per advice hour to run the service, and last year it provided 15,808 hours of advice.

n These costs would be more than three times as much if it were not for the time given freely by staff.